Commerce Department Seeking To Expand Manufacturing Network

The National Network of Manufacturing Innovation currently consists of seven institutes where industry and university partners work together on developing and deploying new manufacturing capabilities and processes.  Each institute has a specific focus:

  • America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (additive manufacturing and 3D printing);
  • DMDII (integrated digital design and manufacturing);
  • PowerAmerica (wide bandgap semiconductor-based power electronics);
  • LIFT (lightweight metals);
  • IACMI (advanced fiber-reinforced polymer composites);
  • AIM Photonics (integrated photonic circuit manufacturing);
  • NextFlex (flexible hybrid electronics)

Two more institutes are currently under competition.  One will focus on fibers and textiles manufacturing and the other on and advanced sensors, modeling and platforms.  Proposals on these institutes were submitted in the last few months, and decisions may come later this year.  In each instance, a federal agency provides start-up funding for the institute, which eventually will be self-sustaining through additional funding sources.

The Department of Defense and the Department of Energy have been the lead federal agencies for the institutes funded to date (and the two currently under competition), but the National Institute of Standards and Technology will be the federal agency partner for the new institutes that emerge from the competition announced by the Department of Commerce on February 19th.  The focus of the institutes is open, as long as the proposed institute doesn’t overlap with any existing one.  A Proposers’ Information Day is scheduled for March 8, where the competition will be described in additional detail for prospective teams.  Registration closes on March 2, and it will be webcast.  Submission deadline for pre-applications is April 20 and the deadline for full applications (for those invited based on successful pre-applications) is July 22 (subject to change)

 

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