Institutions and Organizations

Bridges vol. 39, May 2014 / Institutions and Organizations

In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama first called on Congress to create a network of National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) across the US. During the summer of 2013, he encouraged lawmakers to pass legislation supporting an even larger network of 45 hubs. The President proposed a one-time $1 billion investment to create a network of 15 manufacturing innovation institutes across the country, as well as three public-private partnerships called Institutes  for Manufacturing Innovation (IMIs). These new manufacturing hubs will partner with businesses, universities and community colleges, and the government to develop and build manufacturing technologies and capabilities that will help US-based manufacturers and workers to create jobs.

Included in these new hubs are the Raleigh-Durham institutions focused on creating high-tech  manufacturing jobs needed to grow the middle class and keep the US on the cutting edge. Their focus is to bring leading companies, universities, and federal research together to help develop the next generation of power electronics. Another hub is the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, launched last year in Ohio to develop and train workers in 3-D printing technology. It will launch with $30 million in federal funding, matched by $40 million from manufacturing firms,  universities, community colleges, and nonprofits.

At the beginning of 2014, Detroit and Chicago were also chosen as locations of regional hubs, backed
by more than $280 million in combined private and public funds. The Detroit-area headquartered  consortium, called the American Lightweight Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMII), will focus on lightweight and modern metals manufacturing and be run by the University of Michigan with assistance from other state universities. The Chicago headquartered consortium, called the Digital  Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII), will concentrate on digital manufacturing and design technologies.