NSTC sets goals for national manufacturing network

Aims for more jobs, higher GDP and a reduce trade deficit
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Up to 15 kinds of advanced goods and services would be created and managed from the research stage through final production and sale or patent-leasing through the proposed National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, says the National Science and Technology Council.

In a Jan.16 report (.pdf), NSTC says a requested $1 billion one-time investment would create a network of up to 15 different Institutes of Manufacturing Innovation that will each have "a unique and well-defined focus area, such as a manufacturing process, an enabling technology, manufacturing processes for new advanced materials, or an industry sector."

Manufacturing generated $1.8 trillion in gross domestic product in 2011, 12 percent of total U.S. GDP that year, says the report. The Obama administration wants the program to both increase overall GDP and further U.S. development of advanced technology. In fiscal 2011, advanced technology purchases accounted for 17 percent of the total trade deficit.

Goals of the program are to create research and manufacturing jobs at each center, which NSTC proposes be placed in its own region, and accelerate the development and use of new manufacturing technologies. To make these viable services, the report recommends each be led by a nonprofit organization with diverse funding sources and a diverse board of directors.

The council also says IMIs should focus on ways to reduce risk and develop training programs that can be used for workers at the institutes themselves and at other plants or locations where their innovations will be manufactured or used.

As the plan for the NNMI concept is finalized, NSTC says it will have small business requirements and suggests each institute initially plan for supply chain capacities and integration options secured by engaging with small and medium-sized enterprises. Institutes are also suggested to look at ways to develop their own small start-up companies or work with existing small businesses related to newly developed technologies

Federal matching funds of between $70 million and $120 million for IMIs would be given over the first five to seven years, after which the institute must be self-sustaining. Other IMI members and partners should come from government agencies, unions, and academic and technical training organizations.

For more:
- read the report (.pdf)
- read a copy of President Obama's announcement

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