Today the Information Sciences Institute (ISI) at the University of Southern California (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering announced its advancement to the next round of consideration for the expansion of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) initiative, announced by President Obama in March 2012 as part of his most recent State of The Union speech. USC ISI’s submission would establish a new California-based Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation (DMDI) Institute and join academic institutions across the state with various industry partners. As part of its advancement to the next round of consideration, USC ISI’s DMDI now becomes the lead proposal for California’s consideration in the federal advanced manufacturing initiative.
“Due to offshore manufacturing trends in recent years, segments of the U.S. industry have suffered significant job losses,” said Dr. John Damoulakis, USC ISI Deputy Director - Advanced Electronics. “A California-based DMDI Institute will have a strong regional focus, but will also have a national presence through its industry partners located across the U.S. It will strengthen U.S. manufacturing’s global competitive position by re-imagining manufacturing, embracing the advances of digital technology and by creating the right learning environment for workforce development in the digital era, which will increase innovation and productivity.”
Earlier this year, a team of Southern California partners submitted a concept paper in response to a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA-13-01DMDI) solicitation for proposals to establish and sustain the DMDI Institute somewhere in the United States. In August, the team – USC Information Sciences Institute (ISI), University of Southern California, University of California at Los Angeles, University of California at Irvine, California Institute of Technology, and various industry partners – received an invitation from the federal government to submit a full technical and cost proposal. Since then, the core academic team has been augmented to include the University of California at Berkeley and other universities and community colleges across California.
The larger statewide advanced manufacturing coalition began to come together following the March California Advanced Manufacturing Summit (CAMS) event in Sacramento sponsored by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development - GO-Biz. Louis Stewart, Deputy Director of GO-Biz, led the effort to bring the various projects together to leverage California’s wide array of assets to create a more competitive proposal.
”California’s innovation strength is its diversity. When we see powerhouses like USC, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine and others coming together to lead the statewide collaboration efforts, it puts California in a great place to successfully compete,” said Louis Stewart, Deputy Director for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at GO-Biz. “This proposal has a real chance because it is bringing together key elements needed for research and development, workforce development and job creation through sustainable innovation.”
NNMI proposal submissions are due to the federal government on October 11, 2013, and a final decision is expected in December. If selected, the statewide submission, led by the USC ISI- team, would receive $70M from the U.S. Government over a 5-year period, plus several millions in additional financial support from the State of California, Los Angeles and Orange Counties, the cities of Los Angeles and Irvine, and a number of industrial partners. As part of the proposal, in addition to establishing the DMDI headquarters at USC, the proposal calls for satellite campuses in Orange County near the University of California at Irvine, and in Northern California near the University of California at Berkeley.
The NNMI initiative is focused on strengthening U.S. manufacturing innovation, performance, competitiveness, and job creation power. To this end, the NNMI initiative aims to establish a number of institutes for manufacturing innovation around the country that would bring together industry, academia, as well as federal and state agencies to develop and invest in innovative manufacturing technologies.