President Obama proposes innovation institutes to target high-tech manufacturing

As it becomes clearer that the economy of the future is not so much a post-industrial economy as a high-tech manufacturing economy, US manufacturers have added about 500,000 jobs over the past three years.

In order to “build on this momentum with a comprehensive agenda to invest in American manufacturing,” the Obama Administration has announced that it will invest $200 million to create three new “manufacturing innovation institutes” involving five Federal agencies: Defense, Energy, Commerce, NASA, and the National Science Foundation.

Each institute will serve as a regional hub designed to bridge the gap between basic research and product development. All three will be selected through a competitive process, and the winning teams will be announced later this year.

All three topic areas are related to electric mobility:

  • Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation: sensors, robotics and other tools that are digitally integrated and networked with supply chains.
  • Lightweight Metals: advanced metals with mechanical and electrical properties comparable to traditional materials, to enable lighter components, as well as reductions in manufacturing and energy costs.
  • Next Generation Power Electronics: wide bandgap semiconductor technology could lead to more compact and efficient power electronic devices for electric vehicles, renewable power interconnection, and a smarter power grid.

 

Image: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza 
Source: The White House