The Obama Administration on May 9 announced that it is launching competitions to create three new manufacturing innovation institutes with a federal commitment of $200 million across five federal agencies: Defense, Energy, Commerce, NASA, and the National Science Foundation. The Energy and Defense departments are opening the competition for the three new institutes immediately. Building on the initial success of a pilot institute headquartered in Youngstown, Ohio, the President announced in his State of the Union address that his Administration would launch launch three additional manufacturing innovation institutes this year. The President will continue to call on Congress to act on his proposal for a one-time $1 billion investment to create a network of 15 manufacturing innovation institutes across the country.
The Energy Department will be leading one new institute focused on next generation power electronics manufacturing, which will advance wide-bandgap semiconductor-based power electronic devices. Many experts see these technologies as the next major platform beyond the silicon-based devices that have driven major technological advances in the U.S. economy over the last several decades. Wide-bandgap technology will enable dramatically more compact and efficient power electronic devices for electric vehicles, renewable power interconnection, industrial-scale variable speed drive motors, and a smarter, more flexible power grid. The Defense Department will lead two of the new institutes, with one focused on digital manufacturing and design innovation, and the other focused on the manufacturing of lightweight and modern metals. See the Energy Department Progress Alert .