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Policy

New Innovation Institutes Planned

by Andrea Widener
January 11, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 2

The National Institute of Standards & Technology is issuing a call for two new manufacturing innovation institutes. These institutes will be part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, which was proposed by President Barack Obama and funded by Congress. The network brings together industry, academic, and government researchers to work on important scientific challenges facing manufacturing. For each of the two new institutes, the government will provide $70 million over five years. That amount must be matched by private, nonfederal funding. “For the first time, the topic areas have not been chosen in advance but will depend on industry interests and input,” says Penny Pritzker, secretary of the Department of Commerce, which includes NIST. Even though NIST isn’t dictating the topic of these two new research centers, it has said biopharmaceutical manufacturing and robotics are two areas of interest. Federal awards have so far created seven innovation institutes on topics such as composites manufacturing, lightweight metals, and 3-D printing. NIST’s solicitation for new innovation institute proposals will be released later this month.

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