Inventors, start your engines: the Obama Administration has just launched the $26 million Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, a cross-agency competition designed to fire up innovators in the private sector to develop the next generation of high tech, energy efficient manufacturing systems.
The Jobs Accelerator
This Innovation Accelerator is actually the third round of a broader program called Jobs Accelerator. Also styled in the form of a competition, Jobs Accelerator pulls together resources from the Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration, the Small Business Administration and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The program builds on several innovation hubs previously launched by the Obama Administration, including the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
Other supporting agencies including the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Education, Housing and Urban Development, EPA, Denali Commission, International Trade Administration ( a Commerce Department agency), the Minority Business Development Administration, and the Patent and Trademark Office.
The Innovation Accelerator Challenge
The aim of the Innovation Accelerator is to push American manufacturing out of the one facility/one product mold and into a more flexible, efficient means of delivering products to consumers and other sectors such as agriculture and health care.
There is likely to be a huge impact on lifecycle management, as new technologies including 3-D printing and self-assembling materials help to narrow the stream of raw materials, energy consumption, packaging, shipping and ultimately disposal or recycling.
The Administration anticipates that about a dozen projects will win grants. According to the press release, the winners will be those who concentrate on cementing long term, sustainable clusters in regions that already have historical or other connections to similar economic trends:
“Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals that will help grow a region’s industry clusters by strengthening connections to regional economic development opportunities and advanced manufacturing assets; enhance a region’s capacity to create high-quality sustainable jobs; develop a skilled and diverse advanced manufacturing workforce; increase
Don’t delay — innovate!
Go ahead, check it out. You have until July 9 apply (guidelines are available at Manufacturing.gov).
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Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.