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NIST Releases $70M National Manufacturing Institute FFA, First NNMI Reports Released

February 25, 2016

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a new Federal Funding Announcement (FFA) to award its first national manufacturing innovation institute (NMII). Proposers may solicit a new NMII on any advanced manufacturing technology focus area not already addressed by another institute or competition. NIST intends to make one award in the form of a cooperative agreement that will provide up to $70 million in federal support over a five-year period – NIST requires the awardee match federal funds with equal funding from non-federal sources. The solicitation is open to U.S.-owned entities organized and operated in the United States including U.S. states, local governments, institutions of higher education, nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Applications must be submitted by July 22, 2016.

To provide information to potential applicants, NIST plans to host one or more public events and informational webinars. The first proposer day event will be held March 8, 2016, at the NIST campus in Gaithersburg, MD (registration required). For those unable to attend in person, the event will be webcast. The full schedule of events will be posted on the NIST’s website

In addition to this FOA, NIST intends to release one or more FOAs to launch new NMIIs using FY17 funds. However, the topics for those NMIIs have not been announced. In total, the Obama administration intends to launch a total of 15 institutes by the end of his term in 2016. In addition to the new NMII, there are currently nine NMIIs that have been awarded. Read the announcement: http://www.nist.gov/amo/nist-announces-funding-opportunity-for-nnmi-manufacturing-innovation-institutes.cfm.

Commerce Sec Pritzker Submits NNMI Annual Report/Strategic Plan to Congress

On February 19, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker submitted to Congress the first-ever legislative reports required of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). The 2016 NNMI Annual Report provides an overview of the origin, primary goals, and early progress of the NNMI Program including NMIIs launched by the end of September 2015. The report includes a profile for each of those NMIIs including location, funding, consortium organizer, and membership totals The report also highlights information about individual NMII’s activities to support technology advancement, workforce development, sustainability, and innovation ecosystem development as well as information about private sector investment.

To gather information about the impact of these NMIIs, the Department of Commerce hosted roundtable discussion to discuss the performance of each NMII as well as gathered information from the individual institutes. The Department of Commerce also hosted several meetings between 2014 and 2015 to lay the groundwork for establishing and convening this network. These meetings focused on network functions, governance, and interagency coordination.

The 2016 Strategic Plan for the NNMI includes four overall goals that will guide the NNMI and individual NMIIs efforts through 2016:

  • Increase the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing;
  • Facilitate the transition of innovative technologies into scalable, cost-effective, and high-performing domestic manufacturing capabilities;
  • Accelerate the development of an advanced manufacturing workforce; and,
  • Support business models that help institutes to become stable and sustainable.

Specific recommendations include:

  • Support the increased production of goods manufactured predominantly within the United States;
  • Foster the leadership of the United States in advanced manufacturing research, innovation, and technology;
  • Enable access by U.S. manufacturers to proven manufacturing capabilities and capital intensive Infrastructure;
  • Facilitate sharing and documentation of best practices for addressing advanced manufacturing challenges;
  • Foster the development of standards and services that support U.S. advanced manufacturing;
  • Nurture future workers for STEM-related work;
  • Support, expand, and communicate relevant secondary and post-secondary pathways, including credentialing and certifications;
  • Cultivate advanced-knowledge workers: researchers and engineers; and,
  • Identify the competencies needed by the next generation of workers.

To ensure that the each NMII becomes sustainable, the strategic plan includes several recommendations as they establish their business models including to identify key stakeholders; define value propositions and the value cycle; define the core functions; and, require member and partner contributions. 

manufacturing, nist, dept of commerce