President Obama announced the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, a propped $1 billion initiative to build a network comprised of up to fifteen Institutes for manufacturing innovation across the country. The proposed fifteen member institutes will serve as regional hubs of manufacturing excellence that will help make U.S. manufacturers more competitive and encourage investment. The administration also announced that it would take immediate steps to launch a $45 million pilot institute for manufacturing innovation.
Each institute should have a well-defined technology focus to address industrially-relevant manufacturing challenges on a large scale and to provide the capabilities and facilities required to reduce the cost and risk of commercializing new technologies. By investing in industrially-relevant manufacturing technologies with broad applications, the administration intends for these institutes to bring industry, universities and community colleges, federal agencies and U.S. states together. They also should work to bridge the gap between basic research and product development; provide companies with access to shared assets to help (e.g., cutting edge capabilities and equipment); and provide education and training in advanced-manufacturing related skills to students and workers. The competitively selected institutes would target several areas of innovation including, but not limited to:
- Developing lightweight materials;
- Refining standards, materials, and equipment for "3-D printing"; and,
- Creating a smart manufacturing infrastructure and approaches.
The administration also announced that it would take immediate steps to launch a pilot institute for manufacturing innovation. The $45 million pilot institute will be selected from a competitive application process and is intended to address "key challenges faced by the U.S. manufacturing sector" to reduce the risk and cost of commercializing and scaling-up new manufacturing products and processes.. Existing resources from the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Commerce and the National Science Foundation will be made available to support the pilot institute. Read the press release...
Attributed to: State Science & Technology Institute