June 29, 2011

APS Hails President's Manufacturing Partnership Initiative

American Leadership in R&D Critical to Advanced Manufacturing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Physical Society applauds President Obama’s new initiative to revitalize the nation’s economy by bringing together federal research agencies, universities and industries to support emerging technologies that will lead to high-quality manufacturing jobs.

During a recent trip to Pittsburgh, Pa., the President spoke at Carnegie Mellon University, where he outlined details of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, which stems from recommendations in a report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). Titled “Ensuring Leadership in Manufacturing,” the report calls for the partnership to identify pressing challenges and transformative opportunities to improve technologies, processes and products across multiple platforms.

“APS is delighted that the White House has put a spotlight on advanced manufacturing. It is not only essential for the future economy of the United States, but for maintaining American leadership in research and development as noted in previous studies by Gregory Tassey,  senior economist for the National Institute of Standards and Technology,” said  Michael S. Lubell, APS director of public affairs.

The initiative will specifically entail the following:

  • Building domestic manufacturing capabilities in critical national security industries: Starting this summer, the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Energy, Agriculture, Commerce and other agencies will coordinate a government-wide effort to leverage their existing funds and future budgets, with an initial goal of $300 million, to co-invest with industry in innovative technologies that will jumpstart domestic manufacturing capability essential to our national security and promote the long-term economic viability of critical U.S. industries.  Initial investments include small high-powered batteries, advanced composites, metal fabrication, bio-manufacturing and alternative energy, among others.
  • Reducing the time to develop and deploy advanced materials:  The Materials Genome Initiative, would invest more than $100 million in research, training and infrastructure to enable U.S. companies to discover, develop, manufacture and deploy advanced materials at twice the speed than is possible today, at a fraction of the cost.  In much the same way that advances in silicon technology helped create the modern information technology industry, advanced materials will fuel emerging multi-billion dollar industries aimed at addressing challenges in manufacturing, clean energy, and national security.
  • Investing in next-generation robotics:  The National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Institutes of Health and the Department of Agriculture are coming together to make available $70 million to support research in next generation robots.  These investments will help create the next generation of robots that will work closely with human operators – allowing new ability for factory workers, healthcare providers, soldiers, surgeons and astronauts to carry out key hard-to-do tasks.
  • Developing innovative energy-efficient manufacturing processes:  The Department of Energy will launch an effort to leverage its existing funds and future budgets, with initial goal of $120 million to develop innovative manufacturing processes and materials to enable companies to cut the costs of manufacturing, while using less energy.  

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The American Physical Society is a nonprofit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy, and international activities. APS represents over 55,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories, and industry in the United States and throughout the world. Society offices are located in College Park, Maryland (Headquarters), Ridge, New York, and Washington, D.C.