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Manufacturing Rebirth

Partnership: Obama rolls out initiative to revamp processes, products

by Susan J. Ainsworth
July 4, 2011 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 89, Issue 27

Credit: Carnegie Mellon U
President Obama announced AMP during a ceremony on June 24 at Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center.
Credit: Carnegie Mellon U
President Obama announced AMP during a ceremony on June 24 at Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center.

To enhance U.S. global competitiveness, President Barack Obama has unveiled the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), a national effort joining industry, academia, and the federal government to invest in emerging technologies such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, and information technology. Leveraging existing programs and proposals, AMP will invest in building domestic manufacturing capabilities in critical national security industries, accelerating the development of advanced materials, establishing U.S. leadership in next-generation robotics, and developing the energy efficiency of manufacturing processes.

“Today, I’m calling for all of us to come together—private-sector industry, universities, and the government—to spark a renaissance in American manufacturing and help our manufacturers develop the cutting-edge tools they need to compete with anyone in the world,” Obama said on June 24. “This new partnership that we’ve created will make sure tomorrow’s breakthroughs are American breakthroughs.”

The Administration plans to spend more than $500 million from existing funds and future budget requests to help U.S. manufacturers reduce costs, improve quality, and speed products to market—all while creating domestic manufacturing jobs. Andrew N. Liveris, chairman and CEO of Dow Chemical, and Susan Hockfield, president of MIT, will cochair the effort.

Manufacturers, including Dow Chemical, Johnson & Johnson, Corning, and Procter & Gamble, and top U.S. engineering schools, including MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Georgia Tech, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and the University of Michigan, will join the effort. They will collaborate with federal agencies and White House groups including the President’s Council of Advisors on Science & Technology, which recommended the formation of AMP in its report “Ensuring Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing,” also released on June 24.

Reaction to the new initiative has been largely positive. For example, the American Chemical Society “applauds these efforts to revitalize American manufacturing and innovation,” says ACS President Nancy B. Jackson. Despite pressures to make cuts in the face of a mounting federal budget deficit, the AMP initiative focuses on “what is truly vital in America: our ability to innovate, adapt, and foster new growth.”



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