GAITHERSBURG, Md.—The U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today announced a competition to award its first manufacturing innovation institutes that will join the nine already underway as part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). President Obama's goal is to launch a total of 15 institutes by the end of his term.
The competition launched today will award one institute using fiscal year 2016 funds and one or more using fiscal year 2017 funds. This will be the first "open-topic" NNMI solicitation in which industry can propose institutes on any advanced manufacturing technology focus area not already addressed by another institute or competition.
Each institute award is in the form of a cooperative agreement that provides up to $70 million in federal support over a five-year period and requires matching funds from non-federal sources.
"These new institutes will help to improve the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing and to fill the gap between basic research and commercialization," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Willie E. May. "They are uniquely positioned to accelerate non-federal investment in advanced manufacturing production capacity in the U.S. and to enable the commercial application of new technologies."
Like the other manufacturing innovation institutes that are part of the national network, the NIST institutes will be private-public partnerships that foster collaboration among industry, academia, nonprofits and government agencies. Through the institutes, these stakeholders work to accelerate U.S. innovation and to increase U.S. competitiveness by investing in industrially relevant, cross-cutting advanced manufacturing products and processes.
The institutes serve as regional hubs for advanced manufacturing and provide shared facilities to all members. The goal is to help industry reduce the risks and costs of production scale-up and commercialization so that companies of all sizes can adopt new technologies, accelerate technology transfer to the marketplace and facilitate innovation across supply chains. Institutes also serve as workforce development resources, working in partnership with local high schools, community colleges and universities.
Applicants may propose institutes that address any area of U.S. advanced manufacturing national need that has the potential to have a transformative effect on the growth of U.S. manufacturing.
The solicitation is open to U.S.-owned entities organized and operated in the United States and its territories. The process begins with submission of a pre-application, due April 20, 2016. Following review, selected applicants will be invited to submit full proposals.
The Federal Funding Opportunity announcement on Grants.gov contains a full list of requirements and evaluation criteria. To provide information to potential applicants, NIST plans to host one or more public events and informational webinars. The first event will be held March 8, 2016, at the NIST Gaithersburg, Md., campus (registration required). It also will be webcast. The full schedule of events will be posted on the NIST NNMI website.
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.