The Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office (AMNPO) today* issued a formal "request for information" on a new public-private partnership proposed by President Obama: the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI).
Published in the Federal Register and posted on the AMNPO's "advanced manufacturing" website, the request for information (RFI) seeks ideas, recommendations and other public input on the design, governance and other aspects of the network, proposed to begin next fiscal year.
As envisioned by the Obama Administration, the NNMI will be the foundation of a U.S. innovation infrastructure of linked regional hubs of manufacturing excellence, called Institutes of Manufacturing Innovation (IMIs). President Obama's proposal calls for creating up to 15 competitively selected, cost-shared IMIs, each of which would concentrate on a particular area of technology development.
The federal portion of the investment would come from a proposed, one-time $1 billion congressionally authorized appropriation, which would be used to jumpstart the network. The NNMI is intended to address a crucial challenge to U.S. competitiveness and threat to economic growth: closing the gap between research and development (R&D) activities and the deployment of technological innovations in domestic production of goods.
The AMNPO is an interagency body hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and including the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Commerce; the National Science Foundation; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; and others. In this RFI, the office is seeking input on how each IMI and the NNMI as whole will integrate capabilities and facilities required to reduce the cost and risk of commercializing new technologies.
While the AMNPO welcomes all comments relevant to the design and impact of this new advanced manufacturing effort, the RFI lists four topics of specific interest:
- Technologies with Broad Impact
- Institute Structure and Governance
- Strategies for Sustainable Institute Operations and
- Education and Workforce Development.
In addition to the RFI, the AMNPO is soliciting input through regional workshops. The first of these events, Designing for Impact: Workshop on Building the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, was held April 25 at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.**
This information-gathering effort is proceeding in parallel with steps to establish a Pilot Institute for Manufacturing Innovation. This pilot institute will serve as a proof-of-concept for the NNMI. The pilot institute will draw on existing resources and authorities of the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Commerce and, potentially, other civilian agencies.
The Federal Register notice with the detailed RFI is available at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/05/04/2012-10809/request-for-information-on-proposed-new-program-national-network-for-manufacturing-innovation-nnmi. Comments are due by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on October 25, 2012, and must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "NNMI Comments." A public announcement of initial actions to create a pilot institute on additive manufacturing was posted April 13 in FedBizOpps. To read the announcement, go to: https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=6345b7b9254b6b5009236043c888f9e9&tab=core&tabmode=list&=Fed.
The AMNPO coordinates federal resources and programs related to manufacturing. It works to enhance technology transfer to and across U.S. manufacturing industries and to help companies overcome technical obstacles to scaling up new manufacturing technologies.