Ohio State Co-Founds High-Tech Manufacturing Institute
The Ohio State University, along with Columbus-based EWI and the University of Michigan, are co-founders of a consortium of universities, companies and nonprofits that will establish a $148 million high-tech manufacturing research institute, the White House announced in February.
The American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII) is expected to create 10,000 new jobs in the Midwest in the next five years in support of a rapidly expanding lightweight materials industry.
ALMMII was created in response to a solicitation from the U.S. Navy that focused on lightweight and modern metals. The technologies and materials developed by ALMMII will also be transitioned to commercial firms, including small and medium-sized businesses.
ALMMII will help develop advanced lightweight materials and technology for use in everything from new hulls for Navy ships to lighter and safer automobiles that are more energy efficient. The institute will help train workers in using new technology involved with creating and using new lightweight materials.
The Department of Defense awarded the team $70 million for the new institute. The state of Ohio has committed $10 million, and the Ohio State College of Engineering has committed $5 million. The remainder of the $148 million for the institute will come from other team members.
The White House will officially announce the new institute Tuesday in Washington, D.C.
“We are proud to be working with such an outstanding founding group in establishing this important national institute, which will bring together resources from industry, government and academia to enhance the region’s competitiveness, create opportunities for students and generate economic growth,” said Ohio State Interim President Joseph A. Alutto.
Alutto acknowledged the importance of the support from Ohio leaders in making this award possible, particularly the $10 million commitment from the Kasich administration and the legislative passage of HCR 33 in support of this project.
Additionally, Alutto thanked Ohio’s state and federal elected officials for their strong statewide, bipartisan support of the Ohio State-EWI application. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and Reps. Joyce Beatty and Steve Stivers led letters in support of the proposal, signed by Sen. Rob Portman and Reps. Pat Tiberi, Tim Ryan, David Joyce, Bob Gibbs, Bill Johnson and Brad Wenstrup. Brown in particular has been a tireless advocate of advanced manufacturing, including introducing legislation to promote these centers, the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act (S 1468).
“American workers have the drive, the creativity and the determination to out-innovate the rest of the world,” Brown said. “By developing innovative partnerships among the Department of Defense, research institutions like The Ohio State University and industry organizations like EWI, we ensure that American workers and businesses have the resources they need to develop the next generation of high-tech manufacturing industries. This type of investment helps rebuild our nation’s manufacturing sector while creating new jobs and strengthening our middle class.”
In addition to EWI (a nonprofit organization that helps develop and apply manufacturing technology), Ohio State and the University of Michigan, the team includes more than 50 other members.
The institute will be based in metropolitan Detroit, but will draw heavily from Ohio State and EWI assets in Columbus.
Researchers at Ohio State and EWI will be engaged in executing research projects in collaboration with the government and key industry partners, training the next generation of workers in lightweight manufacturing, and transitioning the results of their activities to commercial firms across the state and the region. The latter thrust is directly aligned with state and national goals of increasing competitiveness in advanced manufacturing and creating the high value jobs of tomorrow. ALMMII will capitalize on EWI and Ohio State facilities and assets including key faculty, students and project managers to execute its projects.
Ohio State, EWI and the University of Michigan will all have seats on the ALMMII Board of Directors, and each organization will contribute a key employee to the ALMMII leadership team.
ALMMII is part of an integrated advanced manufacturing plan developed by Ohio State’s College of Engineering that includes a new OSU-EWI initiative called the Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME), said Dean David B. Williams.
The college is also investing heavily in Ohio State’s new discovery theme of Materials for a Sustainable World. The discovery themes are designed to leverage Ohio State’s human talents and fiscal resources to address the technological, social and environmental stresses that define today’s global world.
ALMMII, the CDME and the Materials for a Sustainable World discovery theme will work together as part of the overall advanced manufacturing initiative and should enable Ohio State to hire new faculty in pursuit of transformative, interdisciplinary research that impacts existing and emerging markets and firms, Williams said.
“This collaborative effort in lightweight metals echoes Ohio State’s commitment to manufacturing innovation, especially as it relates to transportation,” said Williams. “The work we do will directly impact the automotive, aerospace and defense sectors, each of which is very important here in Ohio.”
Ohio State’s partners at EWI and the University of Michigan expressed their support and enthusiasm for the new institute.
A vision of the institute is to prepare an eager work force and equip them with 21st century advanced manufacturing skills. Through the integration of the region’s work force, education and economic development assets, the institute will enable the availability of job-ready employees and maximize the transition of emerging technologies to small, medium and large firms in the region and across the nation,” said Lawrence Brown, executive director of the institute and director of government technology programs at EWI.
U-M President Mary Sue Coleman concurred.
“Through this initiative, our region will build on its core strengths to become the nation’s technology hub for lightweight materials and manufacturing,” Coleman said. “Companies from around the country will come here not only because of our technological capabilities, but also because we have the work force they need in their efforts to revitalize and transform domestic manufacturing.”
ALMMII is part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. Previously announced institutes are located in Youngstown, Ohio, and Raleigh, N.C.