This year, the US government has significantly increased funding for the federal program focused on developing and commercializing advanced manufacturing technologies in the industrial sector, which is called the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation or NNMI.
The program has been proposed with the aim to revitalize the US domestic manufacturing declined by a third over the past 10 years due to outsourcing to other countries. At the same time, an emphasis was placed on developing regional manufacturing hubs or Manufacturing Innovation Institutes and bringing them into the Network.
The funds are allocated as follows:
$350M in added discretionary funds to support the creation of seven new NNMI institutes;
$1.93B in a one-time appropriation to last until 2024 to establish 29 new NNMI institutes, building on the nine institutes already funded through 2015 as well as the seven new manufacturing institutes requested to be funded in 2016.
In addition, this is the first time NNMI has received direct funding from the federal budget in the amount of 25 M to be obtained through National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
As sustainable manufacturing innovation hubs, the institutes will:
- Develop advanced manufacturing technologies that will “lift all ships,” creating, showcasing and deploying new capabilities that can increase commercial productivity.
- Help businesses who otherwise couldn’t invest in advanced manufacturing research by bringing together the best talents and capabilities from the public and private sector into a proving ground for cutting-edge technology.
- Build a pipeline of talent that can support advanced manufacturing.
According to the NNMI official statement of purpose, “In a fiercely competitive global marketplace, innovation is no longer enough. Many nations are increasingly driving innovation to implementation through whole-of-government advanced manufacturing initiatives. Thus, the federally backed National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) is intended to create a competitive, effective, and sustainable manufacturing research-to-manufacturing infrastructure for U.S. industry and academia to solve industry-relevant problems.”