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U.S. Institute of Technology Pushes Forward Manufacturing Tech Roadmap

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced a new competition for awards to support industry-driven consortia in developing technology roadmaps. The roadmaps must address high-priority research challenges to grow the advanced manufacturing sector in the U.S.

NIST’s Manufacturing USA Technology Roadmaps (MfgTech) program anticipates awarding up to eight awards with a period of performance of up to 18 months each, with individual awards of up to $300,000 and no cost-share requirement. The competition is open to all nonfederal U.S. entities, including accredited institutions of higher education; nonprofit organisations; for-profit organisations incorporated in the U.S. (including U.S. territories); and state, local, territorial and tribal governments.

Technology roadmaps are proven, strategic tools to identify barriers and related development steps to achieve grand challenges. Prior roadmap activities have been instrumental in establishing productive consortia and initiatives, including foundational planning for future Manufacturing USA institutes. Benefits of technology roadmaps include:

  • Addressing major technological barriers that inhibit the growth of advanced manufacturing in the U.S. that no single organisation could tackle on its own;
  • Identifying and prioritising research projects supporting long-term industrial research needs including but not limited to those identified in the Strategy for American Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing;
  • Creating new or updating broadly available industry-driven, shared-vision technology roadmaps to support strategic and long-range planning; and
  • Catalysing development and supporting the maintenance of technology infrastructure and American excellence in advanced manufacturing, including identifying technology areas appropriate for potential new Manufacturing USA institutes.

The Manufacturing USA institutes have demonstrated that consortia can play a key role in developing and transitioning new manufacturing technologies critical to America’s future competitiveness. These roadmaps can help ensure that they have a clear vision of what challenges are before us to ensure U.S. manufacturing is competitive.

Organisations that submit MfgTech proposals are encouraged to develop partnerships across an industry ecosystem to bring together expertise in facilities, supply chain, or specialised goods and services to produce a valuable roadmap that takes all of these elements into consideration. Proposals are due by Aug. 16, 2021. Details about the competition, including eligibility, selection criteria, legal requirements and the mechanism for submitting proposals are found in the Notice of Federal Funding Opportunity posted at Grants.gov

The Manufacturing USA institutes and their sponsors — the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Defense or Energy — connect more than 2,000 organisations across hundreds of major projects to quickly move technology from laboratory prototypes to industrial capabilities and provide thousands of people with advanced manufacturing knowledge and skills. NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve quality of life

Developing technology roadmaps is important to pinpoint the direction of sci-tech development. As reported by OpenGov Asia, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) created Task Force to write the roadmap for Artificial Intelligence (AI). The roadmap aims to expand access to critical resources and educational tools that will spur AI innovation and economic prosperity nationwide.

As directed by Congress in the National AI Initiative Act of 2020, the Task Force will serve as a Federal advisory committee to help create and implement a blueprint for the National AI Research Resource (NAIRR) – a shared research infrastructure providing AI researchers and students across all scientific disciplines with access to computational resources, high-quality data, educational tools, and user support.

America’s economic prosperity hinges on foundational investments in technological leadership. NAIRR will expand access to the resources and tools that fuel AI research and development, opening opportunities for bright minds from across America to pursue the next breakthroughs in science and technology.

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