National Network for Manufacturing Innovation
The National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), also known as Manufacturing USA, is a network of research institutes in the United States that focuses on developing and commercializing manufacturing technologies through public-private partnerships between U.S. industry, universities, and federal government agencies. Modeled after Germany's Fraunhofer Institutes, the network currently consists of nine institutes, with six more planned by 2017.
|National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute||3D Printing / additive manufacturing||Youngstown, Ohio|
|Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII)||Digital manufacturing||Chicago, Illinois|
|Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII)||Lightweight materials||Detroit, Michigan|
|Next Generation Power Electronics Institute (PowerAmerica)||Wide-bandgap semiconductors||Raleigh, North Carolina|
|Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI)||Composite materials||Knoxville, Tennessee|
|American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM Photonics)||Photonic integrated circuits||Rochester, New York|
|Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute||Flexible electronics||San Jose, California|
|Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA)||Textiles||Cambridge, Massachusetts|
|Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute||Smart manufacturing||Los Angeles, California|
In June 2011, United States President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) recommended that the federal government launch an advanced manufacturing initiative of public-private partnerships to support "academia and industry for applied research on new technologies and design methodologies." The recommendation called for $500 million per year to be appropriated to the Departments of Defense, Commerce and Energy, increasing to $1 billion per year over four years.
The NNMI was proposed in the President's fiscal year 2013 budget and formally unveiled by the Obama administration several weeks later in March 2012. The proposal called for a joint federal effort between the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, National Science Foundation and the Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology to create a network of 15 regional institutes, funded by a one-time investment of $1 billion and carried out over a period of 10 years. The Obama administration immediately reprogramed $45 million of existing resources from the Departments of Defense, Energy, Commerce and the National Science Foundation through executive action to fund a pilot, proof-of-concept institute for the program. In May the Department of Defense solicited proposals from consortiums led by nonprofit organizations and universities to establish an additive manufacturing (3D printing) research institute to serve as the prototype facility.
In August the government announced the winning proposal, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII), led by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining and based in Youngstown, Ohio. The consortium's members include 40 companies, nine research universities, five community colleges and 11 nonprofit organizations. The NAMII was established with an initial federal government investment of $30 million, while the consortium contributed almost $40 million in additional funding. The Obama administration stated that it expected NAMII to become financially self-sustaining. In May 2013, the Obama administration announced the establishment of three additional institutes using $200 million in funding provided by five federal agencies: the Departments of Defense, Commerce, and Energy, NASA and the National Science Foundation.
The NNMI is modeled after the Fraunhofer Institutes of Germany. According to the original proposal, it would consist of up to 15 linked institutes with unique research concentrations to serve as regional manufacturing innovation hubs. Each institute would be independently run by a nonprofit organization and form a public-private partnership designed to leverage existing resources and promote collaboration and co-investment between industry, universities and government agencies. The network is designed to address the inconsistency in U.S economic and innovation policy in that federal research and development (R&D) investments and tax incentives are not matched by corresponding incentives to encourage the domestic manufacture of the technologies and products that arise from this R&D. The goal of the institutes is to develop, showcase and commercialize new products and processes for domestic production, as well as to train a manufacturing workforce at all skill levels to enhance domestic manufacturing capabilities. Institute activities include applied research and demonstration projects that reduce the cost and risk of commercializing new technologies or that solve generic industrial problems, education and training, development of methodologies and practices for supply-chain integration, and engagement with small and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises.
Critics of the NNMI have argued that it is an example of the government "picking winners" in industry and technology, and that its efforts are misplaced in that taxes and burdensome regulations are the most pressing problems facing U.S. manufacturers. Supporters counter that the U.S. government has a long history of successful investments in R&D to support innovation in U.S. industry. Others argue that the NNMI can help alleviate two key market failures that plague industrial innovation, namely that innovators generally do not capture the full economic benefits that their innovations provide and thus achieving the optimal level of R&D investment requires government support, and the so-called "valley of death" problem in which businesses tend not to invest in long-term R&D projects with profits that are far in the future. Additionally, supporters argue that the NNMI will create a more attractive domestic environment for manufacturing, and thus will encourage manufacturers to locate production facilities in the United States.
- Fraunhofer Society
- National Institute of Standards and Technology
- Manufacturing in the United States
- Defense Innovation Advisory Board
This article incorporates public domain material from the U.S. Advanced Manufacturing Partnership document "From Discovery to Scale-up: About the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation".
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