OH, PA, WV Collaboration to Host Pilot Manufacturing Innovation Institute

August 15, 2012

On Thursday, the Obama administration announced it had selected the TechBelt region, encompassing northeast Ohio, western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia, to host the pilot institute of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). The new National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII) will operate as a partnership of more than 60 companies, research universities, community colleges and nonprofit organizations from the region. As the pilot effort of NNMI, the partnership will receive $30 million in initial federal funding, with another $40 million from regional partners. The institute will be housed at Youngstown Business Incubator in Youngstown, OH.

The president first announced his proposal to create a network of up to 15 institutes around the country that would bring together industry, universities, community colleges, nonprofits and government to invest in industrially-relevant manufacturing technologies in March (see the March 14 issue of the Digest). The proposed institutes would serve as regional hubs of manufacturing excellence that will help improve U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and commercialize new technologies with broader applications.

The president's FY13 budget includes a $1 billion, one-time investment by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to support the network, Several federal agencies, including the Department of Defense's Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy, the Department of Energy's Advanced Manufacturing Office, NIST and the National Science Foundation's Engineering Directorate and Advanced Technological Education were to provide funding for a $45 million pilot institute.

In May, the administration issued a solicitation for proposals from regional teams led by nonprofit organizations or universities for the pilot institute, which would focus specifically on additive manufacturing. Additive manufacturing, often known as 3D printing, is a group of new technologies that is used to build objects by laying down many thin layers. This approach is becoming increasingly common in many fields, from food preparation to archeology. The Department of Defense has discussed using additive manufacturing to create customized parts onsite for operational systems.

The NAMII application was submitted by a regional partnership, led by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining and including 40 local companies, nine research universities, five community colleges and 11 nonprofit organizations. The TechBelt Initiative, a regional network including many of the same partners and several technology-based economic development organizations, will support the work of the institute.

In Thursday's announcement, the administration awarded an initial $30 million from the federal government under existing authorities to the effort. An additional $40 million will be provided as a match by the winning consortium of organizations.

Read the announcement...

Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginiamanufacturing, nist