The new $1 billion initiative would bring together industry, universities and community colleges, federal agencies and state resources to create up to 15 institutes, each focused on solving a specific manufacturing challenge or commercializing a technology to have large-scale impact. The president chose the Crosspointe facility for his announcement because it demonstrates the potential for supporting U.S. manufacturing through this type of collaboration model. Later this summer, the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) will open as an applied research center developed in partnership between eight companies including Rolls-Royce, the state of Virginia, three leading Virginia universities and an investment from the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration.
One of the network’s primary goals is to bridge the gap between basic research and product development by helping small- and mid-sized manufacturers access new, cutting-edge equipment and encouraging partnerships to reduce costs and risks associated with innovation. The network would also facilitate collaboration between schools and industry leaders in order to develop academic curricula that give students the knowledge they need to excel in today’s advanced manufacturing jobs.
As part of the administration’s We Can’t Wait efforts, the president announced that a pilot institute will be funded with $45 million in existing funds and chosen through a competitive bidding process. Funding for the remainder of the program is included in the Obama administration 2013 budget request.
The National Network for Manufacturing Innovation emphasizes many of AMT’s Manufacturing Mandate priorities including greater collaboration between academia and industry, enhanced research and development, training a better smartforce, and increasing the global competitiveness for American manufacturers.