National Academies Press: OpenBook

The Flexible Electronics Opportunity (2014)

Chapter:Front Matter

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. The Flexible Electronics Opportunity. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18812.
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The Flexible Electronics
Opportunity

Committee on
Best Practice in National Innovation Programs for Flexible Electronics

Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy

Policy and Global Affairs

Donald Siegel       Sujai Shivakumar
Committee Chair       Editor

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
                               OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.

www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. The Flexible Electronics Opportunity. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18812.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS     500 Fifth Street, NW     Washington, DC 20001

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This study was supported by: Contract/Grant No. SB1341-12-CQ-0036/13-020, TO #2, and Contract/Grant No. SB1341-03-C-0032 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Contract/Grant No. DE-DT0000236, TO #28 (base award DE-AM01-04PI45013), between the National Academy of Sciences and the Department of Energy.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number-13:   978-0-309-30591-4
International Standard Book Number-10:   0-309-30591-8
Library of Congress Control Number:   2014952749

Additional copies of this report are available for sale from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu/.

Cover Art: © Archerix | Dreamstime.com – Electronic Globe Photo

Copyright 2014 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. The Flexible Electronics Opportunity. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18812.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. The Flexible Electronics Opportunity. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18812.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. The Flexible Electronics Opportunity. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18812.
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Committee on
Best Practice in National Innovation Programs for Flexible Electronics

Donald Siegel, Chair

Dean and Professor

School of Business

University at Albany, SUNY

A. Michael Andrews, II*

Vice President for Research and Engineering and Chief Technology Officer (retired)

L-3 Communications Corporation

Byron C. Clayton

Vice President

Nortech

Nick Colaneri

Director, Flexible Display Center

Arizona State University

Stephen R. Forrest (NAE)

Professor

Departments of EECS, Physics and Materials Science & Engineering

University of Michigan

Russell Gaudiana

Vice President, Research

Konarka Technologies, Inc.

(Member: 7/30/2010-3/8/2013)

Mary L. Good (NAE)

Dean Emeritus, Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology

Special Advisor to the Chancellor for Economic Development

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Frank Jeffrey

Chief Executive Officer

Power Films

(Member: 7/30/2010-7/14/2011)

James Turner

Senior Counsel

Association of Public and Land-grant Universities

Project Staff

Sujai J. Shivakumar
Study Director

McAlister T. Clabaugh

Program Officer

David E. Dierksheide

Program Officer

Karolina E. Konarzewska

Program Coordinator

Thomas R. Howell

Consultant

Charles W. Wessner

Program Director

(through March 2014)

_______________

*Co-chair through September 25, 2013.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. The Flexible Electronics Opportunity. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18812.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. The Flexible Electronics Opportunity. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18812.
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For the National Research Council (NRC), this project was overseen by the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP), a standing board of the NRC established by the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering and the Institute of Medicine in 1991. The mandate of the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy is to advise federal, state, and local governments and inform the public about economic and related public policies to promote the creation, diffusion, and application of new scientific and technical knowledge to enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the U.S. economy and foster economic prosperity for all Americans. The STEP Board and its committees marshal research and the expertise of scholars, industrial managers, investors, and former public officials in a wide range of policy areas that affect the speed and direction of scientific and technological change and their contributions to the growth of the U.S. and global economies. Results are communicated through reports, conferences, workshops, briefings, and electronic media subject to the procedures of the National Academies to ensure their authoritativeness, independence, and objectivity. The members of the STEP Board* and the NRC staff are listed below:

Paul L. Joskow, Chair

President

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Ernst R. Berndt

Professor of Applied Economics

Alfred P. Sloan School of Management

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Jeff Bingaman

Former U.S. Senator, New Mexico

U.S. Senate

Ellen R. Dulberger

Managing Partner

Dulberger Enterprises, LLC

Alan M. Garber (IOM)

Provost

Harvard University

Ralph E. Gomory (NAS/NAE)

Research Professor

Stern School of Business

New York University

John L. Hennessy (NAS/NAE)

President

Stanford University

William H. Janeway

Managing Director

Senior Advisor

Warburg Pincus, LLC

Richard K. Lester

Japan Steel Industry Professor and Department Head

Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

_______________

*As of September 2014.

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. The Flexible Electronics Opportunity. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18812.
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David T. Morgenthaler

Founder

Morgenthaler Ventures

Luis M. Proenza

President Emeritus

University of Akron

Kathryn L. Shaw

Ernest C. Arbuckle Professor of Economics

Graduate School of Business

Stanford University

Laura D’Andrea Tyson

Professor of Business Administration and Economics

Director, Institute for Business & Social Impact

Haas School of Business

University of California, Berkeley

Harold R. Varian

Chief Economist

Google Inc.

Jay Walker

Chairman

Patent Properties, Inc.

STEP Staff

Stephen A. Merrill

Director

(through March 2014)

Paul T. Beaton

Program Officer

McAlister T. Clabaugh

Program Officer

Aqila A. Coulthurst

Program Coordinator

Sujai J. Shivakumar

Senior Program Officer

David E. Dierksheide

Program Officer

Karolina E. Konarzewska

Program Coordinator

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. The Flexible Electronics Opportunity. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18812.
×

Preface

Flexible electronics refers to technologies that enable flexibility in the manufacturing process as well as flexibility as a characteristic of the final product. Features such as unconventional forms and ease of manufacturability provide important advantages for flexible electronics over conventional electronics built on rigid substrates. Today, examples of flexible electronics technologies are found in flexible flat-panel displays, medical image sensors, photovoltaic sheets, and electronic paper.

Some industry experts predict that the global market for flexible electronics will experience a double-digit growth rate, reaching $250 billion by 2025.1 However, most experts believe that the United States is not adequately poised to capitalize on this opportunity. A recent study commissioned by the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research concluded that “the relatively low prevalence of actual manufacturing and advanced systems research and development in the United States has led to an incomplete hybrid flexible electronics R&D scenario for this country.”2 Furthermore, the report observed that “manufacturing is moving to regions of the world that provide greater investment and commitment to product development. It then becomes questionable as to whether this approach is a healthy one and can be sustained in the long term.”3

_______________

1 TMR, Flexible Electronics Market—Global Industry Size, Share, Trends, Analysis and Forecasts 2012–2018 (2013).

2 Ananth Dodabalapur et al., European Research and Development in Hybrid Flexible Electronics (Baltimore: WTEC, July 2010).

3 Ibid.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. The Flexible Electronics Opportunity. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18812.
×

THIS STUDY

Responding to a congressional request, a committee of the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP) has reviewed foreign and domestic innovation programs and their potential to advance the production of flexible electronics technologies. It has sought to understand their structure, focus, funding, and likely impact and to determine what appropriate steps the United States might consider to develop a robust flexible electronics industry. (See Box P-1.)

THE STEP BOARD’S RESEARCH ON
INNOVATION AND COMPETITIVENESS

Since 1991, the National Research Council, under the auspices of the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy, has undertaken a program of activities to improve policy makers’ understandings of the interconnections of science, technology, and economic policy and their importance for the American economy and its international competitive position. The board’s activities have corresponded with increased policy recognition of the importance of knowledge

BOX P-1
Statement of Task

An ad hoc committee will examine and compare selected innovation programs both foreign and domestic, and their potential to advance the production of flexible electronics technology in the United States. The analysis, carried out under the direction of the committee, will include a review of the goals, concept, structure, operation, funding levels, and evaluation of foreign programs similar to major U.S. programs, e.g., innovation awards, S&T parks, and consortia. To assess these programs, the committee will convene a series of meetings to gather data from responsible officials and program managers, and encourage a systematic dissemination of information and analysis as a means of better understanding the transition of flexible electronics research into products and to identify specific recommendations to improve and to develop U.S. programs.

Specifically, the committee will examine the role of research consortia around the world to advance flexible electronics technology, comparing their structure, focus, funding, and likely impact, and determining what appropriate steps the United States might consider to develop the industry in the United States. This review will include the potential of the industry, the possible contributions of a consortium, and other measures contributing to the development of the industry in the United States. The committee will undertake workshops to carry out this analysis, prepare a workshop summary capturing the tacit knowledge expressed, commission additional analyses, and develop findings and recommendations for inclusion in the committee’s final consensus report.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. The Flexible Electronics Opportunity. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18812.
×

and technology to economic growth. New economic growth theory emphasizes the role of technology creation, which is believed to be characterized by significant growth externalities.4 In addition, many economists have recognized the limitations of traditional trade theory, particularly with respect to the reality of imperfect international competition. Public–private partnerships are increasingly recognized for their contributions to the commercialization of state and national investments in research and development. Such partnerships help address the challenges associated with the transition of research into products ready for the marketplace.5

One important element of NRC analysis has concerned the growth and impact of foreign technology programs. U.S. competitors have launched substantial programs to support new technologies, small firm development, innovative production at large companies, and consortia among large and small firms to strengthen national and regional positions in sectors they consider strategic for the development of their economies. Some foreign governments have chosen to provide public support to research and the commercialization of that research to overcome the market imperfections apparent in their national innovation systems.6 They believe that the rising costs and risks associated with new potentially high-payoff technologies, and the growing global dispersal of technical expertise, underscore the need for national research and development programs to support new and existing high-technology firms within their borders.7

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

On behalf of the National Academies, we express our appreciation and recognition for the insights, experiences, and perspectives made available by the many participants of workshops and site visits held over the course of this study. We would particularly like to recognize Thomas Howell for his research and preparation of a draft of this report, and David Dierksheide and Karolina Konarzewska of the NRC staff for their assistance in preparing this report for publication.

_______________

4 National Research Council, Enhancing Productivity Growth in the Information Age, eds. D. W. Jorgenson and C. Wessner (Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2007).

5 National Research Council, Government-Industry Partnerships for the Development of New Technologies: Summary Report, ed. C. Wessner (Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2003).

6 For a review of leading national programs to support applied research and commercialization of new products, see National Research Council, 21st Century Manufacturing: The Role of the MEP Program, eds. P. Shapira and C. Wessner (Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2013), Appendix A.

7 For a review of the challenges and opportunities faced by the United States in the face of unprecedented global competition for developing, commercializing, and manufacturing the next generation of technologies, see National Research Council, Rising to the Challenge, U.S. Innovation Policy for the Global Economy, eds. C. Wessner and A. Wolff (Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2012).

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. The Flexible Electronics Opportunity. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18812.
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ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF REVIEWERS

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Academies’ Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process.

We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Peter Boer, Tiger Scientific Inc.; Michael Ettenberg, Dolce Technologies; John Ettlie, Rochester Institute of Technology; Antonio Facchetti, Polyera Corporation; Pradeep Fulay, West Virginia University; Tobin Marks, Northwestern University; Robert Pfahl, International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative, Inc. (retired); Gregory Tassey, University of Washington; Nicholas Vonortas, The George Washington University; and Thomas Weller, University of South Florida.

Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Elsa Garmire, Dartmouth College. Appointed by the National Academies, she was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

Donald Siegel

Sujai Shivakumar

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Flexible electronics describes circuits that can bend and stretch, enabling significant versatility in applications and the prospect of low-cost manufacturing processes. They represent an important technological advance, in terms of their performance characteristics and potential range of applications, ranging from medical care, packaging, lighting and signage, consumer electronics and alternative energy (especially solar energy.) What these technologies have in common is a dependence on efficient manufacturing that currently requires improved technology, processes, tooling, and materials, as well as ongoing research. Seeking to capture the global market opportunity in flexible electronics, major U.S. competitors have initiated dedicated programs that are large in scope and supported with significant government funding to develop and acquire these new technologies, refine them, and ultimately manufacture them within their national borders. These national and regional investments are significantly larger than U.S. investment and more weighted toward later stage applied research and development.

The Flexible Electronics Opportunity examines and compares selected innovation programs both foreign and domestic, and their potential to advance the production of flexible electronics technology in the United States. This report reviews the goals, concept, structure, operation, funding levels, and evaluation of foreign programs similar to major U.S. programs, e.g., innovation awards, S&T parks, and consortia. The report describes the transition of flexible electronics research into products and to makes recommendations to improve and to develop U.S. programs. Through an examination of the role of research consortia around the world to advance flexible electronics technology, the report makes recommendations for steps that the U.S. might consider to develop a robust industry in the United States.

Significant U.S. expansion in the market for flexible electronics technologies is not likely to occur in the absence of mechanisms to address investment risks, the sharing of intellectual property, and the diverse technology requirements associated with developing and manufacturing flexible electronics technologies. The Flexible Electronics Opportunity makes recommendations for collaboration among industry, universities, and government to achieve the critical levels of investment and the acceleration of new technology development that are needed to catalyze a vibrant flexible electronics industry.

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