In 1993, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Industrial Technology (OIT) established a group of seven industries designated as Industries of the Future (IOF). These industries were selected for their high energy use and large waste generation. The original IOF included the aluminum, chemicals, forest products, glass, metalcasting, petroleum refining, and steel industries. Each industry was asked to provide a future vision and a road map detailing the research required to realize its vision. In November 1994, the forest products industry was the first of the IOF industries to enter into an agreement with DOE.
OIT asked the National Research Council's National Materials Advisory Board (NMAB) to provide guidance for OIT's transition to the new IOF strategy. The Committee on Industrial Technology Assessment (CITA) was formed for this purpose with the specific tasks of reviewing and evaluating the overall OIT program, reviewing selected OIT-sponsored research projects, and identifying crosscutting technologies (i.e., technologies applicable to more than one industry). CITA was asked to focus on three specific areas: intermetallic alloys, manufacturing process controls, and separations. A separate panel was formed to study each area and publish the results in separate reports.