Created in 2012, fourteen Manufacturing USA institutes exist across the country, focused on increasing American competitiveness in advanced manufacturing and including over 1000 members from industry, academia, national laboratories, state and local governments, and the federal government. Over $1B of federal funding and $2B of non-federal funding supports the institutes in their attempts to advance manufacturing technology and innovation in the U.S. After five years, a recent assessment by a third party found “that Manufacturing USA is a valid approach grounded in a portfolio of technology-centric Institutes.”
A key element to the success of the Manufacturing USA program, and each institute, is stakeholder input and feedback regarding the network’s goals:
- Increasing competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing,
- Facilitating the transition of innovative technologies into scalable, cost-effective, and high performing domestic capabilities,
- Accelerating the development of an advanced manufacturing workforce, and
- Supporting business models that help the institutes become stable and sustainable.
The third party evaluation – conducted by Deloitte and sponsored by the Departments of Energy, Defense, and Commerce – Included extensive interviews, research, evaluation, and research on comparable international efforts, and concluded:
- Manufacturing USA shows signs of strengthening regional economic clusters,
- Manufacturing USA Institutes address the “valley of death” through seed funding and by bringing together stakeholders to commercialize advanced technologies, and
- Institutes decrease the cost of experimentation for their members by providing access to cost prohibitive equipment and pooling R&D dollars.
The evaluation also provided helpful recommendations on key programmatic goals such as:
- Institutes should place greater emphasis on later-stage manufacturing and technology readiness levels to increase commercialization efforts.
- The Program should strive to work at the speed of industry in all ways including membership and work agreements.
Since the study began in August 2016, six new institutes joined the Manufacturing USA network. The newest members’ technology focus areas are: chemical process intensification, advanced tissue bio-fabrication, biopharmaceutical manufacturing, recycling and remanufacturing technologies, and robots in manufacturing environments. The new institutes join a robust network that includes technology areas such as additive manufacturing, flexible hybrid electronics, composites, and others. They also join a network proven in its ability to move American manufacturing capabilities forward, spurring domestic innovation and increasing job growth and economic development.
For more information on the network and each institute, please visit the Manufacturing USA website.
The third party study can be downloaded here.