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NC Wins Latest Manufacturing Innovation Institute Focused on Electronics

January 15, 2014

The first of three new manufacturing innovation institutes will be headquartered in Raleigh, NC, and led by a consortium of 18 companies, seven universities and labs, and the state of North Carolina. The announcement was made today by President Obama. Developing wide-bandgap semiconductor devices and industry-relevant processes is the goal of the Next Generation Power Electronics Institute. Such technologies are used to develop smaller, faster, cheaper and more efficient electronics for personal devices, electric vehicles and renewable power interconnection, according to a press release.

Bringing back advanced manufacturing jobs and accelerating new technological breakthroughs are the intended outcomes of the Manufacturing Innovation Institutes. As explained in this 60-second video, the institutes serve as hubs that bring together private sector employers and universities for cooperative research and risk sharing that can lead to major advances in technology. Those advances are shared with small businesses and entrepreneurs creating the next generation manufacturing jobs. A pilot institute focused on additive manufacturing was launched in 2012 in Youngstown, OH. Ultimately, the president envisions 45 such hubs operating around the country.

Funding for the latest institute comes from the Department of Energy, which is providing $70 million over five years, and $70 million in matching funds from the winning team of businesses, universities and the state. North Carolina State University is leading the consortium.

The selection process is still underway for two other institutes, with awards expected in the coming weeks. Led by the Department of Defense, they will focus on digital manufacturing and design innovation and lightweight and modern materials manufacturing. 

North Carolinadept of energy, federal agency, manufacturing