Spring doesn’t begin until March, but the nation’s advanced manufacturing hubs will soon grow again. In February, the U.S. Department of Commerce will solicit bids for two new nodes in the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). By planting the seeds for collaboration between industry and academia, NNMI is promoting technological innovation and economic growth. Will either hub bloom in NYS?
Focus Driven by Industry Demand
According to Commerce Department officials, the focus of each new Manufacturing Innovation Institute will be driven by industry demand. Yet Commerce has also expressed a particular interest in manufacturing robotics and biopharmaceutical manufacturing, two areas which a presidential advisory report has identified as “critical to supporting national needs.”
As Andy Szal of Manufacturing.net explains, a robotics institute could focus on improving deployment and ensuring safe collaboration between robots and humans. A biopharmaceutical hub could focus on biologic-based drugs that use living cells instead of pharmaceutical chemistry. Both hubs, whatever they may be, will be funded by the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Thoughts on Location
These NIST-funded hubs will join seven other NNMI centers that have been announced previously and will be funded by either the Department of Defense (DOD) or the Department of Energy (DOE). Last July, Vice President Joe Biden named Rochester, New York as the site for a DOD-funded Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Integrated Photonics.
Advanced manufacturing hubs are located across the country, and no single state has multiple hubs. Still, could NYS benefit from a robotics hub in neighboring Pennsylvania, or a biopharmaceutical hub in nearby New Jersey? Pittsburgh is already home to Carnegie Mellon University and the National Robotics Engineering Center, and northern New Jersey is home to leading pharma companies like Johnson & Johnson.
What do you think would be an ideal location for the next hub?
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