President Obama launches $500M Advanced Manufacturing Partnership; Ford involved as an initial partner
US President Barack Obama today launched the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), a national effort bringing together industry, universities, and the federal government to invest in emerging technologies such as information technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology.
The President’s plan, which leverages existing programs and proposals, will invest more than $500 million to jumpstart this effort. Investments will be made in: building domestic manufacturing capabilities in critical national security industries; reducing the time needed to make advanced materials used in manufacturing products; establishing US leadership in next-generation robotics; increasing the energy efficiency of manufacturing processes; and developing new technologies that will dramatically reduce the time required to design, build, and test manufactured goods.
Leading universities and companies will compliment these federal efforts helping to invent, deploy and scale these advanced technologies.
The AMP is being developed based on the recommendation of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), which today released a report entitled “Ensuring Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing.” The PCAST report found that the United States is losing leadership in manufacturing—not just in low-tech industries and products and not just due to low wages abroad, but in the production of high tech products, including those resulting from US innovation and inventions, and in manufacturing-associated R&D.
As US leadership in manufacturing declines, the report found, other nations are investing heavily in advancing their manufacturing leadership, innovation systems, and R&D. Nevertheless, with appropriate support, advanced manufacturing has the potential to create and retain high-quality jobs in the United States. Other key conclusions of the PCAST report are:
The US’ long-term ability to innovate and compete in the global economy greatly benefits from co-location of manufacturing and manufacturing-related R&D activities in the United States. The loss of these activities will undermine our capacity to invent, innovate, and compete in global markets.
A strong advanced manufacturing sector is essential to national security.
The United States lags behind competitor nations in providing the business environment and skilled workforce needed for advanced manufacturing.
Federal investments in new technologies, shared infrastructure, and design tools have been crucial to the birth and growth of major new industries.
Individual companies cannot justify the investment required to fully develop many important new technologies or to create the full infrastructure to support advanced manufacturing. Private investment must be complemented by public investment. Key opportunities to overcome market failures include investing in the advancement of new technologies with transformative potential, supporting shared infrastructure, and accelerating the manufacturing process through targeted support for new methods and approaches.
The PCAST report calls for a partnership between government, industry, and academia to identify the most pressing challenges and transformative opportunities to improve the technologies, processes and products across multiple manufacturing industries.
The AMP will be led by Andrew Liveris, Chairman, President, and CEO of Dow Chemical, and Susan Hockfield, President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Working closely White House’s National Economic Council, Office of Science and Technology Policy and the PCAST, AMP will bring together a broad cross-section of major US manufacturers and top US engineering universities.
The universities initially involved in the AMP will be the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Stanford University, University of California-Berkeley, and University of Michigan. The manufacturers initially involved in the AMP will be Allegheny Technologies, Caterpillar, Corning, Dow Chemical, Ford, Honeywell, Intel, Johnson and Johnson, Northrop Grumman, Procter and Gamble, and Stryker.
The US Government has had a long history of partnership with companies and universities in developing and commercializing the new technologies that have been the foundation of economic success, from the telephone, to the microwave, to the jet engine, to the internet. The AMP is intended to provide the platform for similar breakthroughs in the next decade, by building a roadmap for advanced manufacturing technologies, accelerating commercialization, scaling-up first-of-a-kind technologies, and developing the infrastructure and shared facilities to allow small and mid-sized manufacturers to innovate and compete.
To launch the AMP, the President today announced a number of key steps being taken by the federal government:
Building domestic manufacturing capabilities in critical national security industries. Starting this summer, the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Energy, Agriculture, Commerce and other agencies will coordinate a government-wide effort to leverage their existing funds and future budgets, with an initial goal of $300 million, to co-invest with industry in innovative technologies that will jumpstart domestic manufacturing capability essential to our national security and promote the long-term economic viability of critical US industries. Initial investments include small high-powered batteries, advanced composites, metal fabrication, bio-manufacturing, and alternative energy, among others.
Reducing the time to develop and deploy advanced materials. The Materials Genome Initiative (earlier post, earlier post) would invest more than $100 million in research, training and infrastructure to enable US companies to discover, develop, manufacture, and deploy advanced materials at twice the speed than is possible today, at a fraction of the cost. In much the same way that advances in silicon technology helped create the modern information technology industry, advanced materials will fuel emerging multi-billion dollar industries aimed at addressing challenges in manufacturing, clean energy, and national security.
Investing in next-generation robotics. The National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Institutes of Health and the Department of Agriculture are coming together to make available today $70 million to support research in next generation robots. These investments will help create the next generation of robots that will work closely with human operators – allowing new ability for factory workers, healthcare providers, soldiers, surgeons and astronauts to carry out key hard-to-do tasks.
Developing innovative energy-efficient manufacturing processes. The Department of Energy will launch an effort to leverage their existing funds and future budgets, with initial goal of $120 million to develop innovative manufacturing processes and materials to enable companies to cut the costs of manufacturing, while using less energy.
Additional complementary steps as part of AMP will include:
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency exploration of new approaches that have potential to dramatically reduce by up to a factor of 5 the time required to design, build, and test manufactured goods while enabling entrepreneurs to meet Defense Department needs.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Stanford University, University of California-Berkeley, and University of Michigan commitment to form a multi-university collaborative framework for sharing of educational materials and best practices relating to advanced manufacturing and its linkage to innovation. The universities will also join together with industry partners and leading government agencies to define research opportunities and build a collaborative roadmap for identify key technology priorities.
Commerce Department development of an advanced manufacturing technology consortium, starting with $12 million in FY12, to identify public private partnerships to tackle common technological barriers to the development of new products.
Proctor & Gamble announcement that it will make available advanced software at no cost to American small and mid-sized manufacturers through the recently launched Midwest Modeling and Simulation consortium. This is a highly valuable digital design tool usually unavailable to smaller firms.
Department of Energy launch of an initiative with the Ford Motor Company and the National Association of Manufacturers to make use of the Department’s National Training & Education Resource to educate and train a new generation of manufacturers.
Defense Department investments, funded at $24 million in FY11, in domestic manufacturing technology that address urgent operational needs including improvements for transparent armor, stealth technology, and targeting systems. The Department is also developing an online marketplace to increase domestic manufacturing capacity in industries critical to our national security by connecting US manufacturers with product needs at the Department and other federal agencies.