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WORKFORCE PIPELINE A MONTHLY FEATURE ABOUT TRAINING, EDUCATION & WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT


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Advanced Technologies for Growth and Talent Serving as the voice of the broader manufacturing com-


eing the best in scientifi c discoveries and engineering inventions is critical but not suffi cient to thrive in the global economy. Invent here, manufacture elsewhere is not sustainable. America’s comparative advantage in high- technology products—engineered and manufactured by our world-class engineers and highly skilled workers—is the only sustainable model that has ever worked. Manufacturing and innovation are intricately linked. Failure to manufacture high technology products risks our ability to innovate next-generation products. It is therefore critical that we establish the needed infrastructure, knowledge and skills needed to mature emerging technologies and their manufacturing readiness to increase the likelihood that the technology is ultimately scaled in the US, creating jobs and a cycle of innovation. The National Network for Manufacturing Innova- tion, which was announced by President Obama in 2012 and now consists of eight institutes, is meant to bridge the gap between science and manufac- turing by investing in R&D to mature and de-risk new technologies. About a year ago, the Presi- dent’s Council of Advisors on Science and Tech- nology (PCAST) recommended that the federal government establish an independent national consortium (a technology think-tank) to identify emerging technologies and broader challenges in advanced manufacturing to keep abreast of technology opportunities. In response to PCAST’s recommendation, the National Science Foundation and National Institute for Science and Technology issued an open solicitation. In October 2015, the federal government awarded a team at the University of Michigan a $6 million seed grant to establish MForesight, which is tasked with identifying emerging technologies and opportunities in advanced manufacturing technologies that will enhance the country’s innovation ecosystem, manufac- turing competitiveness, and national security.


110 AdvancedManufacturing.org | May 2016


munity, MForesight is focused on predicting future critical needs in advanced manufacturing as well as addressing broader challenges and opportunities in education, work- force development and technology commercialization. Thirty national thought leaders from across industry and academia have joined MForesight’s Leadership Council. Additional details can be found at http://mforesight.org One of the tasks of MForesight is to provide Rapid Re- sponse Reports to federal agencies on topics of their priority.


Within the fi rst two months, MForesight developed two such reports in response to collective requests from federal agen- cies—one on “Engineering Biology” and other on “Bio-manu- facturing for Regenerative Medicine.” Recently the White House Offi ce of Science and Technol- ogy asked MForesight to investigate ways to “Democratize Manufacturing” to a wide range of innovators, entrepreneurs, and small and medium-sized business. The goal is to identify technologies that can lower barriers to small-lot manufacturing in the quantities of 1000-10,000 units in the US. MForesight also plans to announce an open White Paper Competition soliciting ideas on hardware for physical production, novel process technologies, software for design/machine interfaces and new business models.


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