The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced today the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor will lead a consortium to identify new, emerging areas of advanced manufacturing that would benefit from shared public-private investment in research and development, education, and training.
The Alliance for Manufacturing Foresight (MForesight) will provide a channel for rapid input from industrial, academic and other private sectors on future manufacturing technologies. Its work will help align advanced manufacturing research with national priorities and challenges to ensure efficient use of federal and private funding for the greatest possible return on investment.
"Engineering and scientific advancements based on fundamental research have been the main drivers of U.S. economic growth over the past half century," said NSF Director France Córdova. "Thanks to innovative technologies enabled by manufacturing research, production has grown at its fastest pace in more than a decade, creating significant economic value for the nation. To continue to reap these benefits, we must seek new research frontiers for manufacturing and pursue them for high impact U.S. manufacturing innovation and economic competitiveness."
"This consortium will provide a continuous channel to draw on the perspectives, knowledge and insights of not only industry but also academia," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Willie E. May. "Having this access to private-sector viewpoints and studies on urgent questions related to manufacturing technology R&D will help us better coordinate and prioritize research and funding."
Recommended by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in its 2014 report, Accelerating U.S. Advanced Manufacturing, the consortium will study needs, challenges, and opportunities facing U.S. manufacturing, producing studies within an anticipated shorter-than-usual turnaround time. NSF and NIST announced a competition for the new consortium in April 2015.
Sridhar Kota, Herrick Professor of Engineering, will lead the University of Michigan's work on MForesight, which has already partnered with 30 thought leaders from industry, professional associations and academia. MForesight aspires to create an inclusive advanced manufacturing community with greater communication and collaboration across a broad spectrum of sectors.
Federal users of the information will include NSF, NIST, other federal research and development agencies, the interagency Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office and the Advanced Manufacturing Subcommittee of the President's National Science and Technology Council. Agencies will have the opportunity to fund studies where they have particular needs.
For further information and to learn how to participate, visit mforesight.org.