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Understanding that certain challenges in advanced manufacturing cannot be solved by industry, academia, or government alone, the Obama administration set up the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation in 2012. At the beginning of 2016, the network was comprised of nine innovation institutes, which are structured as public-private partnerships. Each institute specializes in a specific field of advanced manufacturing (for example: 3D printing, fiber-reinforced polymers, next-generation electronic devices) and brings together experts from academia, government, and private industry to share best practices, bridge gaps in the knowledge base, and develop innovative solutions.
The president’s fiscal 2016 budget request calls for an additional six institutes to be funded, bringing the total to 15 by the end of the year. Industry and academia response has already proven to be positive, as evidenced in August 2015 when it was announced that the seventh innovation institute would specialize in flexible hybrid electronics. While the Department of Defense and Department of Energy committed to invest $500 million in this institute, non-governmental entities pledged twice as much—more than $1 billion. These strong commitments across the public and private sector will strengthen U.S. manufacturing innovation and U.S. global competitiveness.
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