Sridhar Kota, Herrick Professor of Engineering at the University of Michigan, will lead the university's work on a consortium, MForesight - The Alliance for Manufacturing Foresight, to identify new and emerging areas of advanced manufacturing that could benefit from shared public-private investment in research and development, education and training, a media release said yesterday.
"In this 'think-and-do' tank, we will identify emerging technologies early on so the nation can invest public and private sector dollars in a way that builds the infrastructure, knowledge and workforce skills needed to anchor manufacturing technology in this country," Mr Kota said.
Mr Kota served as assistant director for advanced manufacturing at the White House from 2009-2012. He helped create Obama's Advanced Manufacturing Partnership in 2011 and the Manufacturing Innovation Institutes in 2012.
The US Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) said the consortium will commission teams of national subject matter experts to provide technology roadmaps and reports on selected emerging technologies that outline projections for development, application and economic impacts.
NSF and NIST are funding MForesight with a three-year, $5.8 million cooperative agreement.
"With collective access to over 30,000 subject matter experts across a wide range of industries, MForesight will serve as a continuous mechanism for research coordination across the public and private sectors," Mr Kota said.
'Foresight' is the key word.
"Having this access to private-sector viewpoints and studies on urgent questions related to manufacturing technology, R&D will help us better coordinate and prioritize research and funding," said the US Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Willie E May.
Recommended by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in its 2014 report, the consortium will study the needs, challenges and opportunities facing US manufacturing, producing on-demand studies within an anticipated shorter-than-usual turnaround time.
"We must seek new research frontiers for manufacturing and pursue them for high-impact US manufacturing innovation and economic competitiveness," NSF Director France Cordova said.
The alliance currently includes representatives from automotive, aerospace, pharmaceutical, chemical, consumer products and semiconductor companies.