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Rensselaer To Host First Workshop on Building the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation

Federal Workshop on April 25 To Seek Input, Field Questions About Proposed National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on April 25 will host the first of a planned series of regional workshops to design a proposed $1 billion federal program, the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI).

This inaugural workshop, first in a series to be held across the nation, provides an opportunity for representatives from industry, academia, and government to share perspectives, pose questions, and propose ideas to design the proposed NNMI. The event will take place at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) on the Rensselaer campus in Troy, N.Y.

The NNMI seeks to connect research discoveries and budding ideas for tomorrow’s technologies and products with the U.S. manufacturers of today, as well as with the start-ups sprouting on the technology horizon.

Participation and attendance is encouraged for small, medium-sized, and large manufacturers, universities and community colleges, state and local governments, economic development organizations, and other stakeholders. Seats are limited and will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. Register for the event at:

“At Rensselaer, we seek to play a major role in building the national innovation ecosystem through our research and education in advanced manufacturing. Along with faculty research, we challenge and empower our students to develop new technologies, start businesses, sow the seeds of future economic growth, and—ultimately—change the world. We are proud to host the nation’s first workshop to discuss the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation,” said Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson.

The workshop is organized by the federal interagency Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office (AMNPO), in cooperation with stakeholders and local organizations. The opening session will acquaint U.S. stakeholders with the principles and concepts motivating the NNMI, according to the AMNPO. The public-private national initiative is proposed in President Barack Obama’s budget for Fiscal Year 2013. The proposal and budget are still subject to approval by Congress.

Most of the workshop will be devoted to interactive sessions designed to solicit ideas on how to best structure the NNMI and its regional hubs—Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation (IMIs). The President’s FY 2013 budget requests $1 billion to create up to 15 IMIs that will bring together industry, universities and community colleges, federal agencies, and states to accelerate innovation by investing in industrially relevant manufacturing technologies with broad applications.

Input gathered during this and subsequent workshops will help to shape the vision, goals, and organization of the IMIs and the entire network.

For more information on the workshop visit:

Advanced manufacturing is a key research focus at Rensselaer, the oldest technological university in the United States. From robotics to green energy systems, nanomanufacturing, biomanufacturing, and other leading-edge fields, Rensselaer students and faculty are focused on innovative solutions to tomorrow’s manufacturing challenges. Much of this manufacturing expertise and research resides within the Rensselaer Center for Automation Technologies and Systems (CATS).

Since 1988, CATS has worked with partner companies to leverage the knowledge and expertise of Rensselaer faculty and students toward solving real-world advanced manufacturing challenges. CATS is a New York state designated Center for Advanced Technology and receives annual funding of nearly $1 million from the Empire State Development (ESD) Division for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR). Over the past five years, CATS has leveraged this investment to help its industrial partners deliver upward of $259 million in non-job economic impact, create 293 new jobs, and retain 449 jobs in New York. More than 80 percent of CATS industrial partners are small or start-up companies.

“Manufacturing is the foundation of our nation’s well being. Our focus at the CATS is to help our industrial partners be more competitive on the global stage, and train our students to be leaders and innovators in this exciting multidisciplinary field,” said John T. Wen, CATS director and a professor in the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering at Rensselaer.

CATS’ interdisciplinary team of researchers includes nearly 50 Rensselaer faculty members from nine different academic departments in the School of Engineering, School of Science, and School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. More than 40 Rensselaer students participate in CATS research, and the center employs seven full-time research technical staff and two postdoctoral researchers.

On April 23-24, CATS at Rensselaer will hold its 2012 Technology Showcase and Conference at the Hilton Garden Inn in Troy, N.Y. The showcase will highlight the many successes of CATS and its partner companies and state agencies. To register or see the full schedule visit:

For more information about advanced manufacturing at Rensselaer, visit:

• CATS Homepage
• Rensselaer Manufacturing Network
• Rensselaer Alumni Magazine: Powerful Partnerships
• Haven’t You Heard of HAVEN?
• Times Union: Pushing the Boundaries
• WTEN: RPI Shows Off is High Tech Lab
Michael Mullaney
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY
Visit the Rensselaer research and discovery blog:
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Michael Mullaney | Newswise Science News
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