NIST handed out 19 advanced manufacturing technology planning grants to support technology roadmapping efforts in the U.S. Credit: Chrysler Group; Flickr; CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently handed out advanced manufacturing technology grants to 19 U.S. universities and nonprofits as part of ongoing efforts to strengthen manufacturing and innovation output and performance through technology roadmapping.

The grants, which range from $378,900 to $540,000 for up to two years, are the first presented by one of NIST’s newest programs. The Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech), launched last year, is a competitive grants program to create or strengthen existing consortia, driven by industry, to address “high-priority research challenges impeding the growth of advanced manufacturing in the United States” (i.e., bridge the gap between R&D and technology).

According to the NIST news release, the awarded projects include those that identify and rank research and development goals, define workforce needs, and improve manufacturing capabilities across all industries and technologies—everything from “flexible-electronics manufacturing to biomanufacturing and from pulp-and-paper manufacturing to forming and joining technologies.” The focus of each project will be the development of a technology roadmap.

“The AMTech awards provide incentives for partnerships to tackle the important jobs of planning, setting strategic manufacturing technology goals, and developing a shared vision of how to work collaboratively to get there,” says NIST Director Patrick Gallagher. “These are essential first steps toward building the research infrastructure necessary to sustain a healthy, innovative, advanced manufacturing sector—one that invents, demonstrates, prototypes, and produces here, in the U.S.”

Those planning to invent, demonstrate, prototype, and produce in the U.S. include awardees University of Rochester and the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). (To view the full list of those receiving grants and an overview of the funded projects, click here.)

Developing a national roadmap for photonics is priority one for University of Rochester’s Center for Emerging and Innovative Sciences (CEIS).

“CEIS will work with its partners and with the National Photonics Initiative (NPI) to forecast the introduction of new technologies and identify manufacturing challenges that, if solved, can strengthen the competitiveness of domestic photonics companies and expand photonics manufacturing to the United States,” states the Rochester release.

The roadmap will address the U.S.’s dropping share of worldwide photonics manufacturing. Once the world leader in photonics technologies, the U.S. now produces less than 10 percent of photonics components sold around the globe.

Georgia Tech and its faculty are part of four AmTech grant projects, which include: $499,636 to the Georgia Research Alliance to establish a road map and consortium in cell manufacturing; $385,112 to the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute to help “speed development and deployment of advanced composites”; $482,078 to an Institute of Paper Science and Technology project to identify advanced technologies for manufacturing of pulp and paper; and $434,577 to the National Center for Defense Manufacturing & Machining to roadmap challenges and opportunities in adopting MTConnect—a manufacturing standard for the exchange of data between the shop floor and the software that monitors it.

More than 80 applications were received for the first round of planning grants, and of the 19 inaugural awardees, 11 are new endeavors funded with AmTech monies.

For more information on the grants or its recipients, click here.

Feature image credit: NIST; Welding: EWI; Blast furnace: University of Purdue Calumet; Sintering: EOS; Additive mfg: Young/NIST