The Obama Administration announced on the 9th of May $200 million in funding for three new institutes to accelerate innovation in U.S. manufacturing.
Funding commitments are spread across five Federal agencies: Defense, Energy, Commerce, NASA, and the National Science Foundation. As the President said in his State of the Union address, the Administration is launching three additional manufacturing innovation institutes this year to build upon the success of the pilot institute in Youngstown, Ohio. The President is proposing a one-time $1 billion investment to create a network of 15 manufacturing innovation institutes across the country.
The Energy Department will lead the new Institute on "Next Generation Power Electronics" that will focus on wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductors. The funding opportunity for the new institute is available. This foundational technology is broadly applicable to multiple industries and markets with potentially transformational technical and economic impact. By using less electricity, these highly efficient and reliable semiconductors can produce low-cost, better performing electronics that will meet the power needs of the future. The Department of Defense will lead two of the new Institutes, focused on "Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation" and "Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing."
The President's manufacturing agenda starts with his vision for a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation Institutes devoted to manufacturing excellence, regional innovation, and competitiveness of U.S. business enterprises and manufacturing facilities. The Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) leads the Energy Department's role in supporting the institutes through the interagency Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP). As part of AMP efforts, AMO joins with other Federal agencies investing in innovation and cost-shared R&D projects, supporting manufacturing infrastructure, and facilitating job creation. AMO contributes with activities to boost energy productivity through technology development, shared infrastructure and facilities, and education and workforce development. These actions also support the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative, which incorporates the technical expertise of AMO and other EERE programs to strengthen U.S. competitiveness and increase energy productivity across multiple manufacturing.