White House Investing $200 Million in 3D Printing

WASHINGTON, DC—The Obama Administration announced that it is launching competitions to create three new manufacturing innovation institutes with a federal commitment of $200 million across five federal agencies: Defense, Energy, Commerce, NASA and the National Science Foundation. To build off the initial success of a pilot institute headquartered in Youngstown, OH, the president announced that his administration would move forward and launch three new manufacturing innovation institutes this year.

According to the White House, the president will continue to call on Congress to act on his proposal for a one-time, $1 billion investment to create a network of 15 manufacturing innovation institutes across the country.

The president has outlined a comprehensive agenda to invest in American manufacturing. It includes a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). President Obama’s FY14 Budget includes a $1 billion investment at the Department of Commerce to create the NNMI, a model based on approaches that that other countries have successfully deployed. Each institute would serve as a regional hub designed to bridge the gap between basic research and product development, bringing together companies, universities and community colleges, and federal agencies to co-invest in technology areas that encourage investment and production in the United States.

This infrastructure aims to provide a unique ‘teaching factory’ that allows for education and training of students and workers at all levels, while providing the shared assets to help companies, particularly small manufacturers, access cutting-edge capabilities and equipment to design, test, and pilot new products and manufacturing processes.

The Department of Defense (DOD) will lead two of the new institutes, focused on “Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation” and “Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing,” and the Department of Energy (DOE) will be leading one new institute on “Next Generation Power Electronics Manufacturing.”

All three institutes will be selected through an open, competitive process, led by the Departments of Energy and Defense, with review from a multi-agency team of technical experts. Winning teams will be selected and announced later this year. Federal funds will be matched by industry co-investment, support from state and local governments, and other sources. Like the pilot institute, these institutes are expected to become financially self-sustaining, and the plan to achieve this objective will be a critical evaluation criterion in the selection process. DOD and DOE are opening the competition for the three new institutes immediately.

  • Paul Gardner

    While this is a VERY COOL development, the headline is not an accurate reflection of what is being created. And I’M SO GLAD ISN’T.

    The prototype project, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, IS focused on 3D printing.

    The next three institutes have separate missions and objectives, and I see this as a VERY GOOD THING!

    Development of disruptive materials, processes and applications will drive the range of capabilities of Additive Manufacturing. And are likely to create far more progress, far faster than would be possible by focusing exclusively on 3D Printing.

    Here’s hoping this initiative gains the widespread citizen and commercial support and the sustained public funding it will require to realize it’s potential.