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Blue Sky Competition

The inaugural NAMRI/SME David Dornfeld Manufacturing Vision Award and Blue Sky Competition, funded by the National Science Foundation, will be held during SME's annual North American Manufacturing Research Conference (NAMRC).

The desired outcome of this competition is to:

  • Reach beyond research papers that present completed work, toward new ideas and visions for manufacturing research and education that can catalyze new directions within the manufacturing community.
  • Presentations should be open-ended, causing the community to consider the "outrageous"; presenting new challenges in new application domains requiring new approaches that are likely to stimulate significant new interest.
  • Presentations should reach beyond the research activities of the speaker, providing bold visions of the future of manufacturing, and the research and education needed to achieve the vision. 

In cooperation with NAMRI/SME, the competition organizers invite submissions of abstracts to a special "Blue Sky Ideas” track to be at NAMRC. Abstracts should convey innovative manufacturing research topics and/or revolutionary approaches to manufacturing engineering education. The emphasis of this track will be on visionary ideas, long-term challenges, and opportunities in research and education that are outside of the current mainstream of manufacturing education and research.

Submissions will be judged on the extent to which they (1) expand the possibilities and horizons of the field or (2) challenge existing assumptions prevalent in the field. Abstracts will be judged by a committee consisting of nine members from academia, government and industry covering a broad range of manufacturing.

Abstract submissions to this track can be up to one page in length. Authors of accepted abstracts will be asked to make a presentation at the conference. Travel and lodging (up to two nights) as well as conference registration for all selected speakers will be covered by the competition. (Availability of travel funds is contingent upon NSF approval.)

To encourage truly visionary concepts of research and education, the top presentation, as determined by the program committee, will receive the NAMRI/SME Dornfeld Manufacturing Vision Award, named in honor of the late David Dornfeld, PhD, FSME, to recognize outstanding vision and leadership within the manufacturing community.

After the conference, SME will post links to abstracts and presentation slides, so that the ideas can be disseminated broadly to the manufacturing community. Publication of the abstracts and slides is required for selection.


Questions can be directed to Scott Smith, PhD, FSME; Z.J. Pei, PhD, FSME; or Brian Paul, PhD.