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A Knoxville-area based consortium of 122 companies, nonprofits, universities and research laboratories is partnering with the Department of Energy to create a more than $250 million manufacturing innovation institute focused on U.S. leadership in next-generation composite materials

The President announced the latest in a series of partnerships aimed at boosting advanced manufacturing, fostering American innovation, and attracting well-paying jobs that will strengthen the middle class. After a decade of decline, American manufacturing is coming back, adding 786,000 new jobs since February 2010.

The Department of Energy and a consortium of 122 companies, nonprofits, and universities led by the University of Tennessee-Knoxville will invest more than $250 million - $70 million in federal funds and more than $180 million in non-federal funds – to launch a Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Advanced Composites.

The new manufacturing innovation institute, the fifth institute to be awarded of the eight institute competitions launched, builds on the early successes of the first manufacturing innovation institute, America Makes in Youngstown, OH.

America Makes in Youngstown, OH

America Makes is focused on reducing the cost of 3D printing, connecting small businesses with new opportunities, and training American workers to master these sophisticated technologies. Only in its third year of operations, the institute has research underway that will help accelerate the speed of 3D printing in metals by a factor of ten, is partnering to provide over 1,000 schools with access to 3D printers, and has launched new workforce training programs that have trained over 7,000 workers in the fundamentals of 3D printing.

In addition to launching new products and filing new patents from the research underway, the institute is serving as a magnet for investment in the region. Last November, GE announced a $32 million investment in a new 3D printing research facility in the region, citing the advantages of locating near America Makes.

As GE attests, “When you consider that manufacturing has become increasingly complex and technology-intensive, you quickly realize that all U.S. manufacturers, big and small, face common challenges that are best tackled by a diverse group of stakeholders from academia, government, and industry. These institutes have provided fertile ground to discuss the common challenges facing all of us to ensure that America has the cutting-edge technology and workforce expertise to lead the world in advanced manufacturing.”

These institutes are an important part of revitalizing American manufacturing:

  • Strengthening U.S. Manufacturing’s Competitiveness with Leadership in Cutting-Edge Technologies -  Each manufacturing institute serves as a regional hub, bridging the gap between applied research and product development by bringing together companies, universities and other academic and training institutions, and Federal agencies to co-invest in key emerging technology areas that can encourage investment and production in the U.S.

  • Preparing America’s Workers for Jobs in Manufacturing – Each institute, as a type of “teaching factory,” provides a unique opportunity for education and training of students and workers at all levels, while supporting the shared assets to help small manufacturers and other companies access the cutting-edge capabilities and equipment to design, test, and pilot new products and manufacturing processes.

  • Co-investing with the Private Sector -  Proving the value of these technological advances to the competitiveness of industry, each institute is launched with a five year commitment of federal resources matched by that much or more invested from the private sector, with the intent that the institutes will become self-sustaining once mature.

In a significant step forward in bringing together the manufacturing institutes into a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, Congress passed the bipartisan Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation (RAMI) Act of 2014 in December as part of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015, proving that strengthening American manufacturing is a goal on which we can all agree.

  • Realizing the President’s Vision for a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. The bipartisan legislation builds on the progress made by the President through executive action, beginning in 2012 when the Department of Defense launched the first manufacturing institute, to create a network of institutes that together provide the foundation for American leadership in the manufacturing technologies that support our competitiveness for years to come.

  • Enacting Bipartisan Legislation to Establish that Network. The RAMI Act enables the institutes to come together as a network, to leverage shared expertise and common support services, and to create a governance structure across the institutes that can guide their success over the long term.

  • Demonstrating Significant Bipartisan Leadership in Congress. Introduced by Sens. Brown (D-OH) and Blunt (R-MO) in the Senate and Reps. Reed (R-NY) and Kennedy (D-MA) in the House, the RAMI Act attracted significant bipartisan support with 118 co-sponsors across the two chambers.

Background on the Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation Institute:

The new institute the Department of Energy is awarding will focus on cutting-edge research on advanced composites – such as carbon fiber – materials that are three times as strong and twice as light as the lightest metals.

  • Advanced fiber-reinforced polymer composites, which combine strong fibers with tough plastics, are lighter and stronger than steel. Advanced composites are currently used for expensive applications like satellites and luxury cars.

  • Bringing these materials down the cost curve can enable their use for a broader range of products including lightweight vehicles with record-breaking fuel economy; lighter and longer wind turbine blades; high pressure tanks for natural gas-fueled cars; and lighter, more efficient industrial equipment.

  • Advanced composites are especially important for progressing clean energy generation and improving the efficiency of the nation’s fleet.

  • In the wind energy industry, advances in low-cost composite materials will help manufacturers build longer, lighter and stronger blades to create more energy.

  • By doubling the length of a turbine blade these materials can help quadruple the amount of electricity generated.

  • In automotive applications, advanced composites could reduce the weight of a passenger car by 50 percent and improve its fuel efficiency by roughly 35 percent without compromising performance or safety – helping to save American families more than $5,000 in fuel costs over the car’s lifetime.

The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation will work to develop lower-cost, higher-speed, and more efficient manufacturing and recycling processes for advanced composites.

  • The Institute will focus on lowering the overall manufacturing costs of advanced composites by 50 percent, reducing the energy used to make composites by 75 percent and increasing the recyclability of composites to over 95 percent within the next decade.

  • The Institute has assembled a world-class team of organizations from across the industry, including leading manufacturers, material suppliers and software developers, government and academia, with both broad and deep experience in all aspects of the advanced composite product development process from design and prototyping to manufacturing at commercial scale.

  • The new institute pairs leading carbon fiber producers and suppliers – like Materials Innovation Technologies, Harper International, and Strongwell – with key end users like TPI for wind turbines and Ford for automobiles.

  • The new hub will also unite these manufacturers with top-flight research universities, such as the University of Tennessee with its pioneering 3D printed carbon fiber research, and the University of Kentucky with the largest U.S. open-access carbon-fiber chemistry laboratory.

  • The combined resources and expertise of the team will provide a leap forward in composite manufacturing and further enhance U.S. competitiveness in clean energy as the team cultivates additional new partnerships.

The winning team, led by the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, has established a new not-for-profit organization headquartered in Knoxville, TN and includes the following 86 key partners and 36 additional consortia members:

57 Companies: A&P Technology, Inc.; Adherent Technologies, Inc.; Altair; Ashland Performance Materials; Assembly Guidance Systems, Inc.; BASF Company; Boeing Company; Celanese International; Continental Structural Plastics; Convergent Manufacturing Technologies; Cytec Engineered Materials; Dassault Systemes Americas Corp.; Dow Chemical Company; DowAksa; DuPont; ESI North America; Evonik Corporation; Faurecia US Holdings; Fives; Ford Motor Company; GE Water & Power; Graco Inc.; GrafTech International; Heil Trailer International; Herty Advanced Materials Development Center; Hills, Inc.; Honda R&D Americas, Inc.; Huntsman Polyurethanes; IN3 Applications; Johns Manville; LayStitch Technologies; LM Wind Power; Local Motors; Lockheed Martin; Materials Innovation Technologies; McWhinney Real Estate Services; Michelman Inc.; Milacron Plastics Technologies Group; Momentive; North Coast Tool & Mold Corp.; Owens Corning; Phoenix Integration; PolyNEW, Inc.; PolyOne Corporation; PPG Industries, Inc.; SABIC Innovative Plastics US; SAERTEX USA, LLC; Strongwell Inc.; Thogus Products Company; Toray Composites (America), Inc.; TPI Composites, Inc.; Vestas Americas; Volkswagen; Wetzel Engineering; Williams, White & Company; Wolf Robotics, LLC; and Xperion

15 Universities and Laboratories: The University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Colorado School of Mines; Colorado State University; Iowa State University; Michigan State University; Mississippi State University; National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Purdue University; The Ohio State University; University of Colorado-Boulder; University of Dayton Research Institute; University of Kentucky; University of Michigan; and Vanderbilt University

14 Other Entities: Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI); Abaris Training Resources, Inc.; American Chemical Council; National Composites Center; Oak Ridge Carbon Fiber Composites Consortium; Polymer Ohio, Inc.; Southern Research Institute; Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade; Indiana Economic Development Corporation; Michigan Economic and Community Development; Ohio Development Services Agency; State of Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development; State of Tennessee; and University of Tennessee Research Foundation

36 Consortia Members: Alcoa Inc.; 3M Company; BioCycle, LLC; Braskem America; BST Nano Carbon; Chomarat North America; Cincinnati Incorporated; Concordia Fibers; Eaton Corporation; EWI; Fiber-Tech Industries, Inc.; FibrTech; Global Wind Network (GLWN); Harper International; Hexagon Lincoln; Ingersoll Machine Tools; Interlaken Technology; International Fibers, Ltd.; Johnson Controls, Inc; Koppers; Materia, Inc.; Mentis Sciences, Inc; Michigan Molecular Institute; Nexgen Composites; NONA Composites, LLC; Oerlikon Metco; OshKosh Corporation; Plasan Carbon Composites; PlastiComp; Quickstep Composites, LLC; Rocky Mountain Institute; The Magni Group; Techmer ES;  Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc.; United Technologies Research Center; and XG Sciences

For more information, visit: www.iacmi.org

New steps are being taken to strengthen the manufacturing sector, boost advanced manufacturing, and attract the good paying jobs that a growing middle class requires. A North Carolina headquartered consortium of businesses and universities, led by North Carolina State University, will lead a manufacturing innovation institute for next generation power electronics.

In last year’s State of the Union address, the President proposed a series of three new manufacturing institutes that the Administration can create using existing resources - this is the first of those institutes.  In May, a competition was launched for these three new manufacturing innovation institutes with a Federal commitment of $200 million across five Federal agencies – Defense, Energy, Commerce, NASA, and the National Science Foundation, building off the success of a pilot institute headquartered in Youngstown, Ohio.  The additional two institutes led by the Department of Defense – focused on Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation and Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing – are still in the selection process and will be awarded in the coming weeks.

Each institute is to serve as a regional hub designed to bridge the gap between applied research and product development, bringing together companies, universities, institutions, and Federal agencies to co-invest in technology areas that encourage investment and production in the U.S.  This type of “teaching factory” provides a unique opportunity for education and training of students and workers at all levels, while providing the shared assets to help companies, most importantly small manufacturers, access the cutting-edge capabilities and equipment to design, test, and pilot new products and manufacturing processes.

The new manufacturing innovation institute announced in North Carolina is focused on enabling the next generation of energy-efficient, high-power electronic chips and devices by making wide bandgap semiconductor technologies cost-competitive with current silicon-based power electronics in the next five years.  These improvements will make power electronic devices like motors, consumer electronics, and devices that support our power grid faster, smaller, and more efficient.   The winning team, led by North Carolina State University, brings together a consortium of leading companies that included some of the world’s leading wide band gap semiconductor manufacturers, leading materials providers, and critical end-users with universities on the cutting edge of technology development and research, all in a vibrant and entrepreneurial region that can serve as the foundation for ongoing U.S leadership in this important technology.  The Department of Energy is awarding $70 million over five years, matched by at least $70 million in non-federal commitments by the winning team of businesses and universities, along with the state of North Carolina.

The announcement is another step forward toward creating a national network of up to 45 manufacturing innovation institutes, which will also require legislation from Congress. In July 2013, Senators Brown (D-OH) and Blunt (R-MO) and Congressmen Reed (R-NY) and Kennedy (D-MA) co-sponsored bipartisan legislation in both the Senate and House that would create a network for manufacturing innovation led by the Department of Commerce consistent with the President’s vision, helping the United States to take advantage of this unique opportunity to accelerate growth and innovation in domestic production and create the foundation for well-paying jobs that strengthen the middle class.  The President will continue to support this bipartisan legislation and will work with Congress to get it passed, and will continue to make progress where he can through existing authority to boost these partnerships that are key to supporting high-quality manufacturing jobs.

Additional Background on the Next Generation Power Electronics Innovation Institute:

The Next Generation Power Electronics Institute will provide the innovation infrastructure needed to support new product and process technologies, education, and training to become a global center of excellence for the development of wide bandgap semiconductor devices and industry-relevant processes.  The DOE-supported manufacturing innovation institute’s headquarters will be located on North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus. The university will also host some of the institute’s shared research and development facilities and testing equipment, as well as workforce development and education programs.

In the last century, silicon semiconductors transformed computing, communication and energy industries, giving consumers and businesses more and more powerful devices that were once unimaginable. Today, as we reach the limits of silicon-based electronics for some critical applications, WBG semiconductors offer a new opportunity to jumpstart the next generation of smaller, faster, cheaper and more efficient power electronics for personal devices, electric vehicles, renewable power interconnection, industrial-scale variable speed drive motors and a smarter, more flexible grid.

The institute will provide shared facilities, equipment, and testing and modeling capabilities to companies across the power electronics supply chain, particularly small and medium-size manufacturers, to help invent, design and manufacture new semiconductor chips and devices. The institute will also pair chip designers and manufacturers with large power electronic manufacturers and suppliers, to bring these technologies to market faster and will offer training, higher education programs and hands-on internships that give American workers the skills for new job opportunities and meet the needs of this emerging and globally competitive industry.

Compared to silicon-based technologies, wide bandgap semiconductors can operate at higher temperatures and have greater durability and reliability at higher voltages and frequencies – ultimately achieving unprecedented performance while using less electricity. These technologies can reduce the size of consumer electronics like laptop adapters by 80% or the size of a power station to the size of a suitcase.  By supporting the foundation for a strong wide bandgap semiconductor manufacturing base, the United States can lead in some of the world’s largest and fastest growing markets from consumer appliances and industrial-scale equipment to telecommunications and clean energy technologies.

The winning consortium, led by North Carolina State University and headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, includes the State of North Carolina and:

  • 18 Companies: ABB, APEI, Avogy, Cree, Delphi, Delta Products, DfR Solutions, Gridbridge, Hesse Mechantronics, II-VI, IQE, John Deere, Monolith Semiconductor, RF Micro Devices, Toshiba International, Transphorm, USCi, Vacon

  • 7 Universities and Labs: North Carolina State [Lead], Arizona State University, Florida State University, University of California at Santa Barbara, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

Background on DOD-led Manufacturing Innovation Institutes:

Competitions continue for the two Department of Defense led manufacturing innovation institutes, which will be selected and awarded in the coming weeks.  Those institutes will focus on technologies critical to the Department’s needs that also have broad commercial applications across different manufacturing industries that will help to drive U.S. leadership in the technologies and skills needed to encourage job-creating investment in the U.S.

The two institutes are:

  • Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation: Advanced design and manufacturing tools that are digitally integrated and networked with supply chains can lead to 'factories of the future' forming an agile U.S. industrial base with significant speed to market advantage. A national institute focusing on the development of novel model-based design methodologies, virtual manufacturing tools, and sensor and robotics based manufacturing networks will accelerate the innovation in digital manufacturing increasing U.S. competitiveness.

  • Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing: Advanced lightweight metals possess mechanical and electrical properties comparable to traditional materials while enabling much lighter components and products. A national institute will make the U.S. more competitive by scaling-up research to accelerate market expansion for products such as wind turbines, medical devices, engines, armored combat vehicles, and airframes, and lead to significant reductions in manufacturing and energy costs.


For more information, visit: www.ncsu.edu/power

Competitions are being launched to create three new manufacturing innovation institutes with a Federal commitment of $200 million across five Federal agencies – Defense, Energy, Commerce, NASA, and the National Science Foundation.  To build off the initial success of a pilot institute headquartered in Youngstown, Ohio, the President announced in the State of the Union that his administration would move forward and launch three new manufacturing innovation institutes this year.

The President’s manufacturing agenda starts with his vision for a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI).  The President’s FY14 Budget includes a $1 billion investment at the Department of Commerce to create the NNMI, a model based on approaches that that other countries have successfully deployed.  Each institute would serve as a regional hub designed to bridge the gap between basic research and product development, bringing together companies, universities and community colleges, and Federal agencies to co-invest in technology areas that encourage investment and production in the U.S.  This type of innovation infrastructure provides a unique ‘teaching factory’ that allows for education and training of students and workers at all levels, while providing the shared assets to help companies, most importantly small manufacturers, access the cutting-edge capabilities and equipment to design, test, and pilot new products and manufacturing processes.

The Department of Defense will lead two of the new Institutes, focused on “Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation” and “Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing”, and the Department of Energy will be leading one new institute on “Next Generation Power Electronics Manufacturing”.  

All three institutes will be selected through an open, competitive process, led by the Departments of Energy and Defense, with review from a multi-agency team of technical experts.  Winning teams will be selected and announced later this year.  Federal funds will be matched by industry co-investment, support from state and local governments, and other sources.  Like the pilot institute, these Institutes are expected to become financially self-sustaining, and the plan to achieve this objective will be a critical evaluation criterion in the selection process.  DOD and DOE are opening the competition for the three new institutes immediately.

Technology Areas for New Institutes:

Consistent with existing authority, Federal agencies have selected technology areas that have broad commercial applications but meet critical mission needs.  The selected technology areas also build off existing multi-agency priority initiatives like the Materials Genome Initiative.  The three topic areas are:

  • Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation: Advanced design and manufacturing tools that are digitally integrated and networked with supply chains can lead to  'factories of the future' forming an agile U.S. industrial base with significant speed to market advantage. A national institute focusing on the development of novel model-based design methodologies, virtual manufacturing tools, and sensor and robotics based manufacturing networks will accelerate the innovation in digital manufacturing increasing U.S. competitiveness.

  • Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing: Advanced lightweight metals possess mechanical and electrical properties comparable to traditional materials while enabling much lighter components and products. A national institute will make the U.S. more competitive by scaling-up research to accelerate market expansion for products such as wind turbines, medical devices, engines, armored combat vehicles, and airframes, and lead to significant reductions in manufacturing and energy costs.

  • Next Generation Power Electronics: Wide bandgap semiconductor based power electronic devices represent the next major platform beyond the silicon based devices that have driven major technological advances in our economy over the last several decades.  Wide bandgap technology will enable dramatically more compact and efficient power electronic devices for electric vehicles, renewable power interconnection, industrial-scale variable speed drive motors and a smarter more flexible grid; in addition to high-performance defense applications (e.g. reducing the size of a sub-station to a suit case).

Pilot Institute

In August 2012, the Administration announced the winner of an initial $30 million Federal award to create a pilot institute, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII).  Headquartered in Youngstown, Ohio, NAMII consists of a consortium of manufacturing firms, universities, community colleges, and non-profit organizations primarily from the Ohio-Pennsylvania-West Virginia ‘Tech Belt’.  NAMII was selected from amongst twelve teams from around the country that applied for the award.  The members of NAMII will co-invest $40 million against the initial Federal award.

For more information, visit: www.manufacturing.gov

At Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia, President Obama signed the America Invents Act, historic patent reform legislation that will help American entrepreneurs and businesses bring their inventions to market sooner, creating new businesses and new jobs. In addition, the President announced additional steps that will help convert the ideas from America’s universities and research labs into new products, expanding our economy and creating 21st century jobs.

“I am pleased to sign the America Invents Act.  This much-needed reform will speed up the patent process so that innovators and entrepreneurs can turn a new invention into a business as quickly as possible,” said President Obama. “I’m also announcing even more steps today that will help bring these inventions to market faster and create jobs. Here in America, our creativity has always set us apart, and in order to continue to grow our economy, we need to encourage that spirit wherever we find it.”

Passed with the President’s consistent leadership and strong bipartisan support, the America Invents Act represents the most significant reform of the Patent Act since 1952. It will give a boost to American companies and inventors who have suffered costly delays and unnecessary litigation, and let them focus instead on innovation and job creation.  These reforms were also a key recommendation of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which has been a strong advocate for patent reform as a way to support job creation and strengthen America’s competitiveness in the global economy.

President Obama was joined at the signing by Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank, US Patent and Trademark Office Director David Kappos, Ellen Kullman, CEO of DuPont and a Member of the President’s Jobs Council, John Lechleiter, CEO of Eli Lilly, as well as students from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Members of Congress who have been instrumental in passing the bill, and inventors and small business owners who will benefit from this reform.

Key Elements of America Invents Act

The America Invents Act was passed with the President’s strong leadership to move this bill forward, after nearly a decade of legislative efforts. It reflects strong bipartisan cooperation and Congress working together on behalf of American innovation.

Many key industries in which the U.S. leads, such as biotechnology, medical devices, and advanced manufacturing, depend on a strong and healthy intellectual property system. The America Invents Act will help businesses, inventors, and entrepreneurs in five immediate ways:

* A fast track option for Patent Processing within 12 Months: Instead of an average wait time of almost three years, the Patent and Trademark Office will be able to offer startups growing companies an opportunity to have important patents reviewed in one-third the time – with a new fast track option that has a guaranteed 12-month turnaround.  Patent ownership is a critical factor venture capital companies consider when investing in entrepreneurs hoping to grow their business.

* Reducing the current patent backlog: Under the Obama Administration, the patent backlog has already been reduced from over 750,000 patent applications to 680,000, despite a 4% increase in filings. The additional resources provided in the law will allow the Patent and Trademark Office to continue to combat the backlog of nearly 700,000 patent applications and will significantly reduce wait times.

* Reducing litigation: The Patent and Trademark Office will offer entrepreneurs new ways to avoid litigation regarding patent validity, at costs significantly less expensive than going to court.

* Increasing patent quality: The Patent and Trademark Office has re-engineered its quality management processes to increase the quality of the examinations and has issued guidelines that clarify and tighten its standards for the issuance of patents.  The legislation gives the USPTO additional tools and resources to further improve patent quality, and allows patent challenges to be resolved in-house through expedited post-grant processes.

* Increasing the ability of American Inventors to protect their IP abroad: The new law will harmonize the American patent process with the rest of the world to make it more efficient and predictable, and make it easier for entrepreneurs to simultaneously market products in the U.S. and for exporting abroad.  The Patent and Trademark Office has also expanded work-sharing with other patent offices around the world to increase efficiency and speed patent processing for applicants seeking protection in multiple jurisdictions.

Additional Initiatives Announced Today to Move Ideas from Lab to Market

Launch of new National Institutes of Health (NIH) center to assist biotech entrepreneurs:  To help industry shorten the time needed and reduce costs for the development of new drugs and diagnostics, the NIH plans to establish a new National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS).  NCATS aims to help biomedical entrepreneurs by identifying barriers to progress and providing science-based solutions to reduce costs and the time required to develop new drugs and diagnostics. For example, as one of its initial activities, NCATS will partner with DARPA to support development of a chip to screen for safe and effective drugs far more swiftly and efficiently than current methods.

Development of a National Bioeconomy Blueprint:  By January 2012, the Administration will develop a Bioeconomy Blueprint detailing Administration-wide steps to harness biological research innovations to address national challenges in health, food, energy, and the environment. Biological research lays the foundation of a significant portion of our economy. By better leveraging our national investments in biological research and development the Administration will grow the jobs of the future and improve the lives of all Americans. The Blueprint will focus on reforms to speed up commercialization and open new markets, strategic R&D investments to accelerate innovation, regulatory reforms to reduce unnecessary burdens on innovators, enhanced workforce training to develop the next generation of scientists and engineers, and the development of public-private partnerships.

University Presidents Commit to Commercialization Initiative: In coordination with the Administration, the Association of American Universities, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, 135 university leaders committed to working more closely with industry, investors, and agencies to bolster entrepreneurship, encourage university-industry collaboration, and enhance economic development. Today, over 40 universities are answering the President’s call to expand their commercialization programs and goals.  These institutions include The Georgia Institute of Technology, which has outlined its expanded initiatives, as well as universities like the University of Virginia and Carnegie Mellon University, which are announcing plans today.

Coulter Foundation and NSF Launch a University Commercialization Prize with AAAS:  This prize competition will be used to identify and promote incentives to adopt best practices that improve university commercialization efforts. Supported by $400,000 in funding from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation and NSF, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) will lead the design and implementation of the prize in coordination with a diverse array of partner agencies, foundations, and organizations.

Developing University Endowments Focused on Lab to Market Innovations: Today, the Coulter Foundation is announcing that they have selected four new universities to participate in their Translational Research Partnership program -- Johns Hopkins University, University of Louisville, University of Missouri and University of Pittsburgh. As part of the program, each university will create a $20 million endowment to foster research collaboration between biomedical engineers and clinicians, with the goal of developing new technologies to improve patient care and human health. Translational research moves new ideas and discoveries from university laboratories to new products and services that directly impact human health, often by creating startups or by partnering with established businesses.

New Tools and License Agreements for Start-Ups and Small Businesses: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Technology Transfer has developed new agreements for start-up companies obtain licenses for early-stage biomedical inventions developed by intramural researchers at NIH or FDA. Companies that are less than 5 years old and have fewer than 50 employees will be eligible to use the new, short-term exclusive Start-Up Evaluation License Agreement and the new Start-Up Commercial License Agreement. These agreements allow a start-up company to take ideas sitting on the shelf, and attract additional investments to develop these NIH and FDA inventions into life-saving products.

New Help for Small Businesses: In addition, the USPTO, in collaboration with NSF and SBA, will pilot a program to assist SBIR grant recipients in taking advantage of the USPTO’s small business programs and resources. The USPTO pilot will provide comprehensive IP support to, initially, 100 NSF SBIR grant recipients to take advantage of accelerated examination and benefits stemming from the America Invents Act and will engage external stakeholders to provide pro bono or low cost IP services to awardees.

At Carnegie Mellon University, President Obama launched the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), a national effort bringing together industry, universities, and the federal government to invest in the emerging technologies that will create high quality manufacturing jobs and enhance our global competitiveness.  Investing in technologies, such as information technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology, will support the creation of good jobs by helping U.S. manufacturers reduce costs, improve quality, and accelerate product development.

The President’s plan, which leverages existing programs and proposals, will invest more than $500 million to jumpstart this effort. The President believes that even as we live within our means, we must invest to win the future. Investments will be made in the following key areas: building domestic manufacturing capabilities in critical national security industries; reducing the time needed to make advanced materials used in manufacturing products; establishing U.S. leadership in next-generation robotics; increasing the energy efficiency of manufacturing processes; and developing new technologies that will dramatically reduce the time required to design, build, and test manufactured goods. Leading universities and companies will compliment these federal efforts helping to invent, deploy and scale these cutting-edge technologies.

“Today, I’m calling for all of us to come together- private sector industry, universities, and the government- to spark a renaissance in American manufacturing and help our manufacturers develop the cutting-edge tools they need to compete with anyone in the world,” said President Obama. “With these key investments, we can ensure that the United States remains a nation that ‘invents it here and manufactures it here’ and creates high-quality, good paying jobs for American workers.”

The AMP is being developed based on the recommendation of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), which released a report [today] entitled “Ensuring Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing.”  The PCAST report calls for a partnership between government, industry, and academia to identify the most pressing challenges and transformative opportunities to improve the technologies, processes and products across multiple manufacturing industries.

The AMP will be led by Andrew Liveris, Chairman, President, and CEO of Dow Chemical, and Susan Hockfield, President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Working closely White House’s National Economic Council, Office of Science and Technology Policy and the PCAST, AMP will bring together a broad cross-section of major U.S. manufacturers and top U.S. engineering universities.  The universities initially involved in the AMP will be the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Stanford University, University of California-Berkeley, and University of Michigan.  The manufacturers initially involved in the AMP will be Allegheny Technologies, Caterpillar, Corning, Dow Chemical, Ford, Honeywell, Intel, Johnson and Johnson, Northrop Grumman, Procter and Gamble, and Stryker.  

The U.S. Government has had a long history of partnership with companies and universities in developing and commercializing the new technologies that have been the foundation of our economic success – from the telephone, to the microwave, to the jet engine, to the internet.  The AMP will provide the platform for similar breakthroughs in the next decade, by building a roadmap for advanced manufacturing technologies, speeding ideas from the drawing board to the manufacturing floor, scaling-up first-of-a-kind technologies, and developing the infrastructure and shared facilities to allow small and mid-sized manufacturers to innovate and compete.

Major Commitments to Advanced Manufacturing Being Made Today

To launch the AMP, the President today announced a number of key steps being taken by the federal government:

* Building domestic manufacturing capabilities in critical national security industries: Starting this summer, the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Energy, Agriculture, Commerce and other agencies will coordinate a government-wide effort to leverage their existing funds and future budgets, with an initial goal of $300 million, to co-invest with industry in innovative technologies that will jumpstart domestic manufacturing capability essential to our national security and promote the long-term economic viability of critical U.S. industries.  Initial investments include small high-powered batteries, advanced composites, metal fabrication, bio-manufacturing, and alternative energy, among others.

* Reducing the time to develop and deploy advanced materials:  The Materials Genome Initiative, would invest more than $100M in research, training and infrastructure to enable U.S. companies to discover, develop, manufacture, and deploy advanced materials at twice the speed than is possible today, at a fraction of the cost.  In much the same way that advances in silicon technology helped create the modern information technology industry, advanced materials will fuel emerging multi-billion dollar industries aimed at addressing challenges in manufacturing, clean energy, and national security.

* Investing in next-generation robotics:  The National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Institutes of Health and the Department of Agriculture are coming together to make available today $70 million to support research in next generation robots.  These investments will help create the next generation of robots that will work closely with human operators – allowing new ability for factory workers, healthcare providers, soldiers, surgeons and astronauts to carry out key hard-to-do tasks.

* Developing innovative energy-efficient manufacturing processes:  The Department of Energy will launch an effort to leverage their existing funds and future budgets, with initial goal of $120 million to develop innovative manufacturing processes and materials to enable companies to cut the costs of manufacturing, while using less energy.   


Additional complementary steps as part of AMP will include:

* Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency exploration of new approaches that have potential to dramatically reduce – by up to a factor of 5 – the time required to design, build, and test manufactured goods while enabling entrepreneurs to meet Defense Department needs.

* Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Stanford University, University of California-Berkeley, and University of Michigan commitment to form a multi-university collaborative framework for sharing of educational materials and best practices relating to advanced manufacturing and its linkage to innovation.  The universities will also join together with industry partners and leading government agencies to define research opportunities and build a collaborative roadmap for identify key technology priorities.

* Commerce Department development of an advanced manufacturing technology consortium, starting with $12 million in FY12, to identify public private partnerships to tackle common technological barriers to the development of new products.

* Proctor & Gamble announcement that it will make available advanced software at no cost to American small and mid-sized manufacturers through the recently launched Midwest Modeling and Simulation consortium.  This is a highly valuable digital design tool usually unavailable to smaller firms.

* Department of Energy launch of an initiative with the Ford Motor Company and the National Association of Manufacturers to make use of the Department’s National Training & Education Resource to educate and train a new generation of manufacturers.

* Defense Department investments, funded at $24 million in FY11, in domestic manufacturing technology that address urgent operational needs including improvements for transparent armor, stealth technology, and targeting systems.  The Department is also developing an online marketplace to increase domestic manufacturing capacity in industries critical to our national security by connecting U.S. manufacturers with product needs at the Department and other federal agencies.

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