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Manufacturing Technologies, Jobs to Expand in the U.S.

Image credits: beta.nsf.gov

Manufacturing is the foundation of the United States’ economic growth, security, and employment; hence, the White House recently released the United States National Strategy for Advanced Manufacturing, in which the National Science Foundation (NSF) plays a major role.

“Decades of NSF investments are today’s biggest manufacturing game-changers, like computer-aided design and 3-D printing. NSF continues to invest in expanding the frontiers of manufacturing and to shore up U.S. economic competitiveness and America’s industrial future,” says Sethuraman Panchanathan, NSF Director.

He noted that the NSF’s investments in manufacturing will create jobs and different pathways, as well as revitalise communities, allowing innovation and chances to occur anywhere in the U.S.

The NSF strategically invests in advanced manufacturing research and the future manufacturing workforce. These investments such as funding basic and translational research that engages students, research infrastructure, STEM education, and hands-on training are intended to maintain the United States’ competitiveness.

Strategic investments made by the NSF in manufacturing will enhance major industries, including semiconductor manufacturing, construction, and healthcare while enhancing environmental sustainability and energy efficiency.

With its future manufacturing programme alone, the NSF put more than S$30 million into 21 projects involving 100 institutions in 20 states. The objective was to enable the production of items that are not yet feasible.

The new projects focus on three areas: a) biomanufacturing research, which uses biology or biological materials in manufacturing; b) cyber manufacturing research, which changes the predictability, security, reliability, and efficiency of manufacturing; and c) eco-manufacturing research, which rethinks the entire manufacturing lifecycle and supply chain for sustainability.

This means that over S$100 million will be spent by the NSF over the three years of the programme on research and education for future manufacturing.

Also, NSF started a new partnership with the Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (DOE BETO) to give more people access to the DOE BETO-funded Agile Bio Foundry’s (ABF) Design-Build-Test-Learn tools.

The NSF’s investment of more than S$4.5 million was matched by a similar investment by the DOE in ABF performers, who will work together on research in synthetic and engineering biology to turn advances into processes and products that affect the U.S. bio-economy.

NSF intends increased investments in the Fiscal Year 2023 to advance quantum and semiconductor manufacturing, grow the semiconductor workforce, and provide access to facilities for scaling novel production methods and converting them into practice.

Moreover, the Manufacturing Day events are held during the month of October each year by manufacturers across the U.S. in collaboration with the National Association of Manufacturers, the Manufacturing Institute, and federal agency partners.

The events highlight current manufacturing vocations and urge businesses and institutions to collaborate with students, parents, educators, and community leaders to promote highly skilled and technical roles in manufacturing. The initiatives are examples of how NSF promotes innovative manufacturing throughout the year.

One of the main economic sectors in the U.S. is manufacturing, however, the COVID-19 global pandemic highlighted the instability of manufacturing supply chains, producing serious shortages of important products such as medical supplies, critical minerals, and semiconductors, which account for 11 per cent of the gross domestic product.

Therefore, the U.S needs to create and implement strategies for regaining its leadership position in advanced manufacturing. In addition, the country’s manufacturing and industrial foundation inspire the U.S. military capabilities using innovative technologies to safeguard its democracy.

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