President Obama recently launched a major initiative focused on strengthening the innovation, performance, competitiveness, and job-creating power of U.S. manufacturing called the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). Key design tenets for the NNMI are captured within “National Network for Manufacturing Innovation: A Preliminary Design,” a report issued by the White House National Science and Technology Council on January 16.

The NNMI is comprised of Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation (IMIs). The president has proposed up to 45 IMIs around the country. Congress is currently considering bills in both houses similar to the President’s proposal. IMIs will bring together industry, academia (four- and two-year universities, community colleges, technical institutes, etc.), and federal and state agencies to accelerate innovation by investing in industrially-relevant manufacturing technologies with broad applications. This will provide the required innovation ecosystem to help bridge the gap between basic research and product development/fielding. It will provide shared assets to help companies, particularly small and medium enterprises, access cutting-edge capabilities and equipment and create an unparalleled environment to educate and train the workforce for advanced manufacturing implementation. Each Institute will have a specific technology or market focus and will serve as a regional hub of manufacturing excellence in that focus area, providing the critical infrastructure necessary to create a dynamic, highly collaborative environment spurring manufacturing technology innovations and technology transfer leading to production scale-up and commercialization. When established, each IMI will be a public-private partnership via a cooperative agreement and key part of the NNMI network of institutes.

A request for information (RFI) has been published on FedBizOps by the government. The RFI seeks information about the following technical focus areas:

•                                     Flexible Hybrid Electronics

•                                     Photonics

•                                     Engineered Nanomaterials

•                                     Fiber and Textiles

•                                     Electronic Packaging and Reliability

•                                     Aerospace Composites

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