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The National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) is a proposed network of research institutes in the United States that will focus on developing and commercializing manufacturing technologies through public-private partnerships between U.S. industry, universities, and federal government agencies. Modeled after Germany's Fraunhofer Institutes, the NNMI will consist of up to 45 Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation (IMIs), each with a unique research concentration, that will serve as regional manufacturing innovation hubs. A pilot institute was established in Youngstown, Ohio, in August 2012. Three additional IMIs were announced in May 2013.


In June 2011, United States President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) recommended that the federal government launch an advanced manufacturing initiative of public-private partnerships to support "academia and industry for applied research on new technologies and design methodologies." The recommendation called for $500 million per year to be appropriated to the Departments of Defense, Commerce and Energy, increasing to $1 billion per year over four years.[1][2]

The NNMI was proposed in the President's fiscal year 2013 budget and formally unveiled by the Obama administration several weeks later on March 9, 2012. The proposal called for a joint federal effort between the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, National Science Foundation and the Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology to create a network of 15 regional IMIs, funded by a one-time investment of $1 billion and carried out over a period of 10 years.[2][3][4][5]

The Obama administration again requested $1 billion in congressional funding over 10 years for the NNMI in the President's fiscal year 2014 budget.[6][7][8] On July 30, 2013, President Obama called for tripling the proposed number of IMIs established throughout the country from 15 to 45.[9][10]


The NNMI is modeled after the Fraunhofer Institutes of Germany.[2][5] According to the original proposal, it will consist of up to 15 linked IMIs with unique research concentrations that will serve as regional manufacturing innovation hubs.[3] Each IMI will be independently run by a nonprofit organization and will form a public-private partnership designed to leverage existing resources and promote collaboration and co-investment between industry, universities and government agencies.[3][11] The network is designed to address the inconsistency in U.S economic and innovation policy in that federal research and development (R&D) investments and tax incentives are not matched by corresponding incentives to encourage the domestic manufacture of the technologies and products that arise from this R&D.[4] The goal of the IMIs is to develop, showcase and commercialize new products and processes for domestic production, as well as to train a manufacturing workforce at all skill levels to enhance domestic manufacturing capabilities.[2][3] IMI activities include applied research and demonstration projects that reduce the cost and risk of commercializing new technologies or that solve generic industrial problems, education and training, development of methodologies and practices for supply-chain integration, and engagement with small and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises.[4]

Critics of the NNMI have argued that it is an example of the government "picking winners" in industry and technology, and that its efforts are misplaced in that taxes and burdensome regulations are the most pressing problems facing U.S. manufacturers.[12][13] Supporters counter that the U.S. government has a long history of successful investments in R&D to support innovation in U.S. industry.[12] Others argue that the NNMI can help alleviate two key market failures that plague industrial innovation, namely that innovators generally do not capture the full economic benefits that their innovations provide and thus achieving the optimal level of R&D investment requires government support, and the so-called "valley of death" problem in which businesses tend not to invest in long-term R&D projects with profits that are far in the future.[13][14][15] Additionally, supporters argue that the NNMI will create a more attractive domestic environment for manufacturing, and thus will encourage manufacturers to locate production facilities in the United States.[15]

Pilot institute[]

The NAMII logo

Upon unveiling the NNMI program in March 2012, the Obama administration immediately reprogramed $45 million of existing resources from the Departments of Defense, Energy, Commerce and the National Science Foundation through executive action to fund a pilot, proof-of-concept institute for the program.[3][4][16] On May 9, the Department of Defense solicited proposals from consortiums led by nonprofit organizations and universities to establish an additive manufacturing (3D printing) research institute to serve as the prototype facility.[4][5][17] On August 16, the government announced the winning proposal, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII), led by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining and based in Youngstown, Ohio.[3][5] The consortium's members include 40 companies, nine research universities, five community colleges and 11 nonprofit organizations.[5] The NAMII was established in August 2012 with an initial federal government investment of $30 million, while the consortium contributed almost $40 million in additional funding.[3] The Obama administration has stated that it expects NAMII to become financially self-sustaining.[8]


On May 9, 2013, the Obama administration announced that it will be establishing three additional IMIs using $200 million in funding provided by five federal agencies: the Departments of Defense, Commerce, and Energy, NASA and the National Science Foundation.[6][8][17] The three IMIs will have three unique focuses: digital manufacturing, composite materials, and next-generation energy sources.[6] Their management consortiums will be selected through competitive processes, with the Department of Defense overseeing the competitions for the digital manufacturing and composite materials IMIs and the Department of Energy overseeing the competition for the energy IMI.[8] Like the NAMII, the three new IMIs are expected to become financially self-sustaining; however, Nature has reported that even if the NNMI program receives the requested $1 billion in funding from Congress, the IMIs will not become self-sustaining without long-term public financing.[6][8]

See also[]

  • Fraunhofer Society
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • Manufacturing in the United States


 This article incorporates public domain material from the U.S. Advanced Manufacturing Partnership document "From Discovery to Scale-up: About the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation".

  1. United States President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (June 2011). Report to the President on Ensuring American Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing. Executive Office of the President of the United States. p. iv. Archived from the original on June 16, 2013. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 McCormack, Richard A. (February 28, 2012). "Obama Will Unveil $1-Billion National Manufacturing Innovation Network Initiative Based On Germany's Fraunhofer Institute". Archived from the original on May 11, 2013. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 "National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI)". Advanced Manufacturing Portal. Archived from the original on June 15, 2013. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "From Discovery to Scale-up: About the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation". Advanced Manufacturing Portal. Archived from the original on February 13, 2013. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Sargent, John F., Jr. (August 28, 2012). The Obama Administration’s Proposal to Establish a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. Congressional Research Service. Archived from the original on January 30, 2013. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Palmer, Chris (May 13, 2013). "Obama administration announces manufacturing institutes". NewsBlog. 
  7. "New Manufacturing Programs Have Prominent Role In Obama's FY 2014 Budget". April 19, 2013. p. 1. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 "Obama Administration Launches Competition for Three New Manufacturing Innovation Institutes". White House Office of the Press Secretary. May 9, 2013. Archived from the original on May 16, 2013. 
  9. "Obama Wants To Open 45 Advanced Mfg. Institutes". July 31, 2013. p. 1. 
  10. Obama, Barack (July 30, 2013). Remarks by the President on Jobs for the Middle Class (Speech). Chattanooga, Tennessee. Archived from the original on August 4, 2013. Retrieved August 7, 2013. 
  11. National Science and Technology Council, Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office (January 2013). National Network for Manufacturing Innovation: A Preliminary Design. Executive Office of the President of the United States. Archived from the original on February 13, 2013. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 Pisano, Gary (April 30, 2013). "Building a Strong Foundation for American Manufacturing". Archived from the original on May 27, 2013. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 McCormack, Richard A. (May 31, 2012). "NIST Director Defends $1-Billion Manufacturing Program, But Doesn't Know Where The Money Will Come From". Archived from the original on May 11, 2013. 
  14. Fletcher, Ian (May 2, 2012). "A National Network for Manufacturing Innovation?". Archived from the original on August 15, 2012. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Hart, David M.; Ezell, Stephen J.; Atkinson, Robert D. (December 2012). Why America Needs A National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. pp. 8–10. Archived from the original on June 1, 2013. 
  16. "$1-Billion National Advanced Manufacturing Network Will Take Off With Or Without Congressional Approval". March 16, 2012. p. 8. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 Tonkin, Lea (May 27, 2013). "National Manufacturing Innovation Network Gains Momentum". 

External links[]

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