Today President Obama announced a new initiative, the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), a national effort bringing together industry, universities, and the federal government to invest in the emerging technologies that will create high quality manufacturing jobs and enhance global competitiveness.
According the White House announcement, "Investing in technologies, such as information technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology, will support the creation of good jobs by helping U.S. manufacturers reduce costs, improve quality, and accelerate product development. The President's plan, which leverages existing programs and proposals, will invest more than $500 million to jumpstart this effort. The President believes that even as we live within our means, we must invest to win the future."
As the nation's national laboratory focused on innovation and industrial competitiveness, NIST will play an important role in the new Partnership program. NIST programs span all stages of the "innovation ecosystem" including research, measurements, technologies, standards, and services that enable the development and implementation of advanced technologies that help U.S. industry become more efficient and competitive.
Specific examples of NIST activities that will support the AMP effort include:
Robotics – NIST is supporting the National Robotics Initiative through the development and deployment of measurement science to increase the versatility, autonomy, and rapid re-tasking of intelligent robots and automation technologies to improve the utilization of robotics in manufacturing. The program addresses major barriers including perception, manipulation, intelligent planning, and safety. Robots that can collaborate with humans and readily handle a wider variety of tasks at lower cost will give all U.S. manufacturers – large and small – an edge in quality and responsiveness to their customers.
Nanomanufacturing – NIST is working with partners in academia and industry to develop the measurement tools and instrumentation needed to enable cost-effective in-line measurement techniques for closed-loop process control, required for large-scale production of nanomaterials and devices.
Advanced Materials Design – As part of the Materials Genome Initiative, NIST is working with partners across the government to develop:
- computational and validated materials databases, data assessment tools, techniques and standards;
- reference materials models and simulations;
- mechanisms for exchange of materials information and best practices;
- consortia to determine consensus standards for materials data interchange; and
- teams built through a Center of Excellence for identifying the critical barriers that can be technically overcome to achieve Integrated Computational Materials Engineering.
The Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTECH) – Consistent with recommendations in the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), report Ensuring Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing, NIST in FY2012 is planning to launch the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia Program as part of the Administration's effort to strengthen support for U.S. manufacturing.
The AMTech program aims to fill a critical funding gap for early-stage technology development by improving incentives for creation of industry-led consortia that will support precompetitive R&D. Such consortia will enable technology development and create the infrastructure necessary for more efficient transfer of technology. By convening key players across the entire innovation lifecycle, AMTech consortia will work toward eliminating critical barriers to innovation, increasing the efficiency of domestic innovation efforts and collapsing the time scale to deliver new products and services based on scientific and technological advances. This strategy has the potential to drive economic growth, enhance competitiveness and spur the creation of jobs in high-value sectors of the U.S. economy.
Manufacturing Extension Partnership – The Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership's (MEP) is a catalyst for accelerating change in small to medium enterprises by enhancing productivity and technological performance in United States manufacturing. MEP's thrusts include: the transfer of manufacturing technology and techniques; cooperative technology transfer activities with industry, universities, state governments, and other federal agencies; and efforts to make new manufacturing technology and processes usable by U.S.- based small- and medium-sized companies. MEP helps to maintain a robust U.S. manufacturing base. It has a presence in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, and is critical to the small and mid-sized U.S. manufacturers who strengthen that base by providing them access to next-generation technologies.
Technology Innovation Program – The Technology Innovation Program has made awards totaling more than $22 million for nine research projects targeting innovative manufacturing technologies in fields ranging from biopharmaceuticals and electronics to renewable energy sources and energy storage. These awards will be matched by other funding sources and are expected to result in an estimated $46 million in new advanced manufacturing research over the next three years. TIP is a merit-based, competitive program that provides cost-shared funding for research projects in areas of critical national need by single small- or medium-sized businesses or by joint ventures that can include higher education institutions, nonprofit research organizations and national laboratories.