Government supported technological research and development can help the private sector to compete globally. A more accurate evaluation system considering multi-factor performance is highly desired. This study offers an alternative perspective and characterization of the performance of Technology Development Programs (TDPs) via a two-stage process that emphasizes research and development (R&D) and technology diffusion. This study shall employ a sequential data envelopment analysis (DEA) with a non-parametric statistical analysis to analyze differences in intellectual capital variables among various TDPs. The results reveal that R&D performance is better than technology diffusion performance for the TDPs. In addition, the "Mechanical, Mechatronic, and Transportation field" is more efficient than the other fields in both R&D and technology diffusion performance models. The findings of this study point to the importance of intellectual capital in achieving high levels of TDP efficiency. The potential applications and strengths of DEA and intellectual capital in assessing the performance of TDP are also highlighted. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.