NIST tees-up research competition to grow smart manufacturing in the US
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced a new competition to support industry-driven consortia to develop new technologies to grow smart manufacturing in the US.
The US commerce department said a new Technology Roadmaps (MfgTech) scheme, handled by NIST’s Manufacturing USA network of manufacturing innovation institutes, will award up to eight non-federal entities in the US with research funds of up to $300,000 to address “high-priority research” in advanced manufacturing.
The competition is open to US-based education and research institutes, non-profit organisations, private sector companies, and local governments. The winning research projects will be allowed to run for up to 18 months. Entrants are encouraged to “develop partnerships across an industry ecosystem”. The deadline for entries is August 16, 2021.
NIST’s technology roadmaps are designed to “identify barriers and development steps to achieve grand challenges”, and to “address major technological barriers that inhibit the growth of advanced manufacturing in the US that no single organization could tackle on its own”. It is designed to feed into the US government’s smart manufacturing policy.
The US government’s Strategy for American Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing, last updated in 2018, sets out a national vision for leadership in advanced manufacturing across industrial sectors, in the name of “national security and economic prosperity”. It is the US government’s equivalent of the German Industrie 4.0 agenda.
Mike Molnar, director of NIST’s office of advanced manufacturing, said: “The Manufacturing USA institutes have demonstrated that consortia can play a key role in developing and transitioning new manufacturing technologies critical to America’s future competitiveness. These roadmaps can help ensure that we have a clear vision of what challenges are before us to ensure US manufacturing is competitive.”
NIST is a non-regulatory agency of the US department of commerce. Its mission is to promote innovation and industrial competitiveness. The Manufacturing USA network, sponsored by the US departments of commerce and defense, connect 2,000-odd organizations to move technology from laboratory prototypes to industrial capabilities.