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December 23, 2015

NIST Intends to Fund New Manufacturing Innovation Institutes

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

On December 22, 2015, the U.S. Commerce Department National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced that it issued a notice of intent to fund up to two institutes as part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI).  For the first institutes, the Commerce Department will provide up to $70 million per institute over five to seven years.  Commerce funding must be matched by private and other non-federal sources.  The Commerce Department expects the institutes to become self-sustainable within the time period of the award.  The Commerce Department notes that this will be the first NNMI solicitation in which the funding agency has not predetermined an institute’s area of focus.  The Commerce Department states that NIST “is open to receiving proposals in any topic of interest to industry, particularly those relevant to manufacturing robotics and biopharmaceutical manufacturing.”  The NNMI Institutes bring together manufacturers, universities, community colleges, federal agencies, and state organizations with the goal of bridging the gap between basic research and product development.  They are intended to accelerate innovation by focusing investment in industrially relevant, pre-competitive manufacturing technologies with broad applications.  According to the press release, NIST plans to issue a solicitation for up to two new institutes in January 2016. The date and location of a Proposer’s Day will be announced on and at