WASHINGTON, D.C., January 29, 2013 — Earlier this month, the National Science and Technology Council released a report based on the input of nearly 900 stakeholders that describes an approach to implementing and managing a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation — a proposed national network of up to 15 manufacturing institutes around the country that would serve as regional hubs of innovation to boost U.S. competitiveness and strengthen state and local economies. The NNMI was announced last March and is designed to accelerate the development and adoption of cutting-edge manufacturing technologies.
This new report, National Network for Manufacturing Innovation: A Preliminary Design, was developed by the NSTC's Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office, which is comprised of representatives from federal agencies working to strengthen the U.S. manufacturing sector. The report was previewed at a workshop in Huntsville, Ala., where industry, academic, government and other participants had the opportunity to discuss key components, including the framework for the competitive process and the criteria for selecting the Institutes of Manufacturing Innovation.
The report recommends that each of the IMIs be led by U.S. nonprofit organizations and have diverse funding sources and an independent Board of Directors composed predominantly of industry representatives. IMI partners would include private industry, academic and technical training organizations, government agencies and unions, among others. Federal matching funds for IMIs would be disbursed over a five-to-seven-year period, after which the institutes would be self-sustaining.
The report proposes that the preliminary activities of the IMIs include:
- Applied research, development and demonstration projects that reduce the cost and risk of developing and implementing new technologies in advanced manufacturing
- Education and training at all levels
- Development of innovative methodologies and practices for increasing the capabilities and capacity for supply chain expansion and integration
- Engagement with small and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises, as well as large Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs)
- Access to shared facility infrastructure, with the goal of scaling up production from laboratory demonstrations and making technologies ready for manufacture
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