The U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced today that they will establish a consortium to provide private‐sector input on national advanced manufacturing research and development priorities. NSF has released a solicitation, calling for applications from organizations to administer the consortium through a cooperative agreement.
The consortium is being established in response to one of the primary recommendations published in Accelerating U.S. Advanced Manufacturing, an October 2014 report from the President's Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, part of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. The report recommended the establishment of a "continuous channel for the federal government to access private-sector insights in crafting the national technology strategies and to ensure ongoing coordination of public and private investments."
"Manufacturing is so important to U.S. economic success, and NIST and NSF are ideal partners to launch this important effort to draw on the perspectives, knowledge and insights of industry and academia," said Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and Acting NIST Director Willie May. "This effort complements NIST's numerous initiatives that support U.S. manufacturing."
"The federal government, through our agencies and others, invests in research on an enormous range of advanced technologies," said Pramod Khargonekar, NSF assistant director for the Engineering Directorate, which leads the agency's advanced manufacturing activities. "Together, we are taking yet another strong step forward to promote prosperity and transform society for the better."
Benefits and outputs of the new consortium will include:
- alignment of advanced manufacturing research with pressing national priorities and national challenges;
- an established channel for providing private-sector input on national research and development priorities developed by the federal government;
- sustained analysis of issues, challenges and opportunities facing U.S. manufacturing; and
- surveys of needs and opportunities for future advanced manufacturing research, education and training.
Federal users of consortium-supplied information will include NIST, NSF, other federal research and development agencies, the interagency Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office and the Advanced Manufacturing Subcommittee of the President's National Science and Technology Council.
The solicitation issued today by NSF explains that the agencies will provide funding of up to $6 million total (up to $2 million per year for up to three years), with no cost share required. Applications are due July 20, 2015. NSF will have primary administrative responsibility for the consortium. NIST will have responsibility for consortium-organized conferences and outreach activities.
NSF and NIST also are collaborating with NASA and the departments of Defense, Education and Energy to build the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, a network of research and development centers aimed at scaling up cutting-edge manufacturing technologies to enable the rapid commercialization of made-in-America products.
The Obama Administration has made investing in cutting-edge manufacturing technologies a priority, increasing federal manufacturing research and development investment by a third to nearly $2 billion annually. U.S. leadership in transformative emerging manufacturing technologies anchors U.S. competitiveness for advanced manufacturing jobs and investment. The new consortium will play an important role in informing these critical investments in the future of U.S. advanced manufacturing.
As a non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department, NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. To learn more about NIST, visit www.nist.gov.