Fraunhofer developing automated processes to improve quality of assembly of combustion engines
SAE to hold 2011 Vehicle Battery Summit in November in Shanghai

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.




When too many free private industries are failing to support the country's economy and are moving to other countries with lower wages and taxes, partnerships with public authorities become necessary, to develop future technologies and local mass production and to promote job creation.

The development and mass production of electrified vehicles and associated batteries, e-motors, controllers, power converters, chargers e-ancillaries etc would fall into that category.

Many other product manufacturers and service providers should be scrutinized to see if they are failing or helping the country to evolve and stay competitive.

Selective partnership with well established goals may be required to fix a failing situation (s).


This is good, the departments combine some of their budgets and get something then need in return, good synergy where the product is greater than the sum of the parts.


Yes, partnership is better than outright give aways, subsidies and tax credits. Public $$$ should be the first priority to be recovered during bankruptcy.


That is the idea, the government helps with activities that need to be done, but the private sector will not do because it is not hugely profitable. If we wait until they can make a killing it is too late.


Step outside and look around.
It is childish to think the private sector is evil.

They are the people.

The private sector includes Think and Aptera; they were/are looking for "barely profitable".

The killing found Think.

Do you think private companies that make solar panels are evil, their owners having decided they can now make a killing?

Only those who work for the government are virtuous?


Although $500 million is not much (what am I saying?!) I think it is sized to stay under the WTO radar and illustrates that the administration knows the value of the so called Big 3.

Does Obama talk like he believes big business is evil because he knows that those who are simple enough to actually believe this, form the basis of his political strength?

Like if Romney were to say that we need to verify official birth certificates of presidential candidates (hint he might be a birther) to get the far right vote?

Roger Pham

This is a good start. A strong and sustainable economy will require the cooperation of all members of society:
1) From the good leadership of members of the Gov. to act in favor of national interests over personal gain...
2) to the business and manufacturing sector for trying to develop local skilled labors and talent and for not opening factories overseas,
3) and for the consumer to favor locally-made goods over imports whenever possible,
4) for taxpayers to pay their fairshare of taxes and not trying to evade taxes via the byzantine tax code full of loopholes, or to lobby for tax cuts...

However, job loss will be inevitable due to the continual push for increase in productivity: more output using less labor, via automation and computerization.

Therefore, job creation efforts must be in parallel to the push for productivity gain: For example, more ENVIRONMENTAL-conservation-related-jobs created by the Government. The push for labor-intensive renewable energy to replace dirty fossil energy can achieve increse in health, social well-being, energy security, lower crime rates... with one concerted effort. The push for recycling of every thing, of every manufactured goods, can create a lot of low-skilled jobs that would otherwise be dependent on welfare or doing illegal activities for a living.

Roger Pham

Yes, I agree with you: "it's childish to think the private sector is evil." Communism made that big mistake that cost tens to hundreds of millions of lives and generations of human potential.

Solutions to vexing social problems can be very complex and difficult. It will require a great deal of creativity and cooperation of all members of society. Each one of us is programmed at birth (instinct) to be selfish and to look after our own interests first before being taught about the collective good of the society.

Our social instinct is not quite as good as that of the ants, bees nor wasps. On top of that, schools in many countries do not teach much about social responsibility or social conscience. The results, then, is quite predictable: greeds, rampant corruption, fraud, and crimes...etc...


You lost me at ants and bees Roger. Social conscience is a political football. The Wrong Wing is up in arms at the new Cars2 movie because it has a green theme. They think it is indoctrination of our youth from leftist commies.


Roger has described what many (the majority?) of us have become. History repeats itself. Many nations have started with good intentions, the best constitution and economic system, but as Roger said, our shortcomings are ruining it and others will have their turn.


Let's see, communism failed in the Soviet Union so that means capitalism wins and can do no wrong. I remember the Savings and Loan collapse, the banking collapse, the insurance company bailout and the sub prime mess. Yes, it works just fine!

Roger Pham

Right, SJC. Laissez-faire-style of Capitalism has failed, leading to the Communist revolutions, and this, too, has failed.

Unfortunately, there is no quick fix.
In the USA, the highly-regulated style of capitalism has fared better since after the Great Depression, but, then, the modern-day equivalence of the Robber Barrons (of the 20's) have managed to seize control of the government for a while, with less and less governmental oversight of the economy and the financial system...and the results recently were also quite predictable.

The combination of socialism with elements of free-market economy of Western Europe seem to be doing quite well for a while...until the formation of the European Union sapped their strength with bailouts...

We have to continually re-invent government and the economic and social systems until we will get it right. This subject will cover an entire book...if and when I will find the time...


It is much like trying to outdo/stop the gangsters. They always find new ways to get around new barriers. Modern days Robber Barons (big and small) use very similar ways to get what they want. Governments (and the people) have to fight both on a continuous basis.

To do that requires renewed laws, non-corrupted politicians (a very rare specie), honest and fair judges, effective active police forces, many effective crime prevention programs and ways to stop glorifying crimes, scams and violence.


Let's see, communism failed in the Soviet Union and Cuba and North Korea.

Does that mean that capitalism can do no wrong?

That is childish and absurd.

It just means communism does not work. Duh.

Has Laissez-faire-style of Capitalism failed?

It has in Somalia.

The US is NOT very close to Laissez-faire Capitalism, but is closer than any society in Europe.

But we are also FAR ahead of Europe economically, and were less affected than they by our own bank failures.

Never mind Cars2, the real world exists with social instincts pulling us in the right direction as Roger says, and xenophobic instincts making us selfish.

Life is a game, it is competitive, play to lose and you lose.

If socialism is one thing, it is non-competitive, it works well only in families with STRONG instinctive sympathy.

It survives but does not flourish in communes.

It fails miserably at the national level.

The socialistic dreamers are delusional but they persist and are beneficial; they do keep our social conscience alive. Unfortunately they believe some incredible BS.

I believe good will is more important, to more companies than ever today.

But very few companies can survive that put altruistic goals above profit. Profit works very well, and an aware populace can keep the common good in mind, but somewhere down the list from the best deal personally.

God would shop at Walmart.

I don't disagree with you HarveyD, about robber barons, but that just shows that relying more on crooked politicians to make more Gov't regulations is probably not the best answer.
We glibly say that earmarks and pork barrel spending are not big bucks, not important. But it is very important to AT LEAST stop the graft that is right there in black and white. Instead we accept Chicago style politics.

Roger Pham

ToppaTom brought up an important point regarding the lack of competition inherent in socialism, and that's why socialism is going against nature. All living things in existence today are winners of intense competition that has wiped out many extinct species (maladaptive) in natural history. Altruism would only work biologically if it is benefiting members having similar genes (DNA coding). Hence, "birds of the same feathers flock together." Socialism has more chance of working when applied to small city-states of ancient Greek time wherein citizens are genetically homogeneous, whereby they can unite to fight against another city-state, eg. Sparta vs Troy...and the winner would decimate the loser, allowing the gene of the winner to spread out further.

In a nation as large and as diverse as the USA, nationally-applied socialism would certainly fail. The government cannot continue to tax the working middle class or working poors and then turn around expanding the welfare role, or "corporate welfare", or other social programs, such as the unconstitutional health-care "deform" laws of 2400 pages long that no one can fully comprehend. All we should expect is that the limited and constitutional federal government should do is to act as a fair referee, allowing groups to compete in peace and harmony, in the abscence of blood shed. All groups should compete fairly in accordance to fair rules of competition. The losers should be allowed to one group should be "too big to fail!" Anti-trust laws should be enforced to ensure that the big boys don't play foul! The laws should not be too complicated nor too cumbersome that will punish small bussinesses, the major driver of job creation.

Ultimately, however, the USA is in competition economically with the rest of the world. To allow products made elsewhere in the world with lax environmental laws or labor laws to be sold here without sufficient tariff to make up for their unfair advantage is not promoting fair competition. When the government fails in its mission as a referee, the result is predictable.

Roger Pham

I must hasten to add that environmentalism and nationalism is not necessary pure altruism, but is a higher form of selfism, or selfishness. Protecting our own environment and our own national interests will reap us long-term health and economic benefits. In short term, this behavior will help relieve us of the sense of guilt and shame, if we have any programmed-in sense of duty, guilt and shame, or morality, or conscience. Habitual criminals often are not programmed innately with a sense of conscience, duty, guilt nor shame, and that's why they did crimes. Criminals are mentally defective individuals who may or may not be correctable.


Speaking of criminals I have yet to see one bankster involved in fraud lose his / her job let alone go to jail.

As long as the taxpayer can be fleeced with exorbitant bail outs, read that as socialism for the rich, nothing will change.

The brainwashed will continue with the mantra "Government is the Problem".

Roger Pham

Bernie Madoff, for one, went to jail, and then the ex CEO of Emron, went to jail also, and perhaps a few other. Sad thing is that Madoff's son committed suicide due to all the harassments that ensued. Quite a tragedy.


Obama should be taking OUR $500 million and using it to pay down the $14 Trillion national debt. Industry, universities, and the federal government do NOT need to "invest" any more. STOP THE SPENDING.



"The government cannot continue to tax the working middle class or working poor and then turn around expanding the welfare role, or "corporate welfare", or other social programs, such as the unconstitutional health-care "deform" laws of 2400 pages long that no one can fully comprehend. All we should expect is that the limited and constitutional federal government should do is to act as a fair referee, allowing groups to compete in peace and harmony, in the absence of bloodshed."

And for those who blindly say that the US is as far from perfect as you can get;
I say;
far from perfect, yes; but I challenge them to pick one country that is more successful and better guarantees freedom.

(Of course I am assuming freedom is important).


How about opening up the development of domestic heavy earth mineral resources?

The comments to this entry are closed.