The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced on Friday, National Manufacturing Day, that it was awarding more than $30 million for several university-based research projects on advanced manufacturing and the preparation of the manufacturing and STEM workforce for the future.
The initiative is part of a Biden White House initiative, the National Strategy for Advanced Manufacturing, which outlines 11 strategic objectives for:
- Developing and implementing advanced manufacturing technologies;
- Growing the advanced manufacturing workforce; and
- Building resilience into manufacturing supply chains.
NSF’s new research investments, made through its Future Manufacturing program, total over $30 million for 21 projects. The new projects focus on three areas:
- Biomanufacturing research that harnesses biology and/or integrates biological materials in manufacturing;
- Cyber manufacturing research that transforms the predictability, security, reliability and efficiency of manufacturing;
- Eco manufacturing research that redesigns entire manufacturing lifecycles and supply chains for sustainability.
Among the lead universities receiving research grants, which varied in amounts from $500,000 to $3 million and in length from one to four years, Texas A and M University had three awards, while the University of Pittsburgh, Purdue University and Arizona State University each received two grants.
The other grant recipients were the University of Minnesota, University of Massachusetts, Syracuse University, University of Texas, University of Arizona, Pennsylvania State University, Northwestern University, North Carolina State University, Kansas State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Cornell University, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Many of the grants, which address topics such as the development of nanomanufacutring, circular supply chains, new packaging materials, robotic manufacturing, and several novel applications of 3D printing, also feature educational outreach such as new online courses and more manufacturing internships. They also seek to increase the number of students from traditionally underrepresented groups participating in STEM-based careers.
“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,” said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. “NSF investments in manufacturing will create jobs and diverse pathways and revitalize communities so that innovation can happen anywhere, and opportunities everywhere in the U.S.”
The new awards bring NSF’s total investment in future manufacturing research and education to over $100 million for the three years of the Future Manufacturing program.
According to the NSF news release, it is also planning additional Fiscal Year 2023 investments for advancing quantum and semiconductor manufacturing, growing the semiconductor workforce, and providing access to facilities for scaling new manufacturing methods and translating them into practice.