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Ever wonder what an "industry white paper" is? Ever spend your working hours with a motley group of madmen from the new technology community, each with their own peculiar version of religious zeal? Ever obsess over being awarded government grants in order to stay afloat and perhaps one day implement a new technology? Remember, in order to encumber funding one must generate a belief in crisis on the part of the reader, based on the writer's own interpretation of the crisis' many many elements. Notes from the distillation of a ton of legal ink on how to write one of these things:

White papers are asked to focus on areas of critical need before showing any focus on a specific technical solution. Address and amplify a complaint. Do not sell our company or others. Brief examples of R&D projects are okay. White papers are asked to outline a broader agenda in which companies and/or academic institutions would want to participate at a programmatic level. Display thinking in terms of viewing the broader technological community as researchers rather than just our company. Do not actually propose anything. Outline and map the challenges facing the area of critical national need that can be addressed through high-risk, high-reward investments. Include references to any recent/relevant industry activity, published papers, surveys, studies, etc. Always generate precedent. Always justify claims.

Papers should further develop the definition and scope of the "critical national need" suggested by the topic, and should identify and explain specific societal challenges within the areas of civil infrastructure and complex networks, or complex systems (intelligent transportation systems), with external effects on the areas of manufacturing and energy. Papers must have: 1. Map to administrative guidance, 2. Justification for government action, and 3. Essentials for TIP funding. Our company is categorized under "industry assistance" as a small business. The primary mechanism for this research support is cost-shared financial assistance (grants, agreements) awarded through merit-based competitions. Papers must be no longer than ten pages. Paper titles must not exceed 90 characters. Please send no less than three copies.

We must ask ourselves: Does the paper topic justify government attention? Does the paper address the magnitude of the problems and societal challenges that need to be overcome in order to address the topic? Has the paper demonstrated that its societal challenges--those preventing the new technology to move forward--must be confronted or else the overall function and quality of life of the nation will suffer? The societal challenges must be associated with barriers preventing the successful development of solutions to the area of critical national need. Are the desired results achievable by TIP's mission to tackle technical issues? Does research into this solution have the potential to enable disruptive changes over and above current methods and strategies, and to radically improve our understanding of systems and technologies, challenging the status quo of research approaches and applications?

White papers, in addressing a "critical national need" must contain 1. A description of the area of critical national need and its associated societal challenges. What's the problem, why is it a problem, how is it formed, what are the challenges in overcoming it? 2. Why government support is needed and what will happen if that support is not given in the proposed timeframe, 3. High level discussion of technical solutions and an indication of the types of entities/groups who will be interested in developing proposal submissions to fund these solutions. White papers, when addressing "high-risk, high reward research" must prove the research in question will 1. Have "transformational" potential, 2. Address the area of critical national need by supporting/promoting/accelerating US innovation, 3. Is too novel or spans too diverse a range of disciplines to fare well in the traditional peer-review process, 4. Fits within area of technical competence of the program awarding the funds. Overview the following: 1. The research (technologies) to be developed and expected new outcomes/capabilities, 2. A path to achieving stated goals, matching ALL THREE "critical national need" criteria.

And that's just the version one would write for someone in our position, our little corner of the market. Now just kindly apply it to your industry and maybe the Yes Hand will let you in on the pie...