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Week of December 5, 2011

University to host Obama’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership meeting

More than 200 leaders from academia, industry and the federal government will be at U-M next week for a national meeting on how to boost American advanced manufacturing.

On Dec. 12, U-M will host the fourth and final regional meeting of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), a working group advising President Obama. The public is invited to attend and offer comments. Registration is required.

The partnership is charged with figuring out how to bring more emerging technologies out of the lab and into the market, and find smarter ways to make current products. The aim is to create high-quality domestic manufacturing jobs and enhance the global competitiveness of the United States.

“American manufacturing has been forgotten for more than a decade. Now we are engaging in a national dialogue,” says Sridhar Kota, a professor of mechanical engineering who is serving as assistant director for advanced manufacturing at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

“The dialog is about innovation, which is not the same as invention or discovery. Innovation is translating a promising discovery into a practical product that can be scaled. That’s where we seem to be falling short in this country,” he says.

Kota’s expertise helped to shape the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, which Obama announced in June 2011. President Mary Sue Coleman and Jack Hu, the J. Reid and Polly Anderson Professor of Manufacturing Technology and an associate dean in the College of Engineering, are the university leads of an AMP group focused on developing recommendations on manufacturing innovation infrastructure. Obama invited Coleman and Hu to join him for AMP’s launch in June.

“The U.S. is known for basic research,” Hu says. “But we need to build an infrastructure to help translate the results of such research into products and businesses. We need to retain high value jobs and create opportunities for new employment.”

In May 2012 the committee will release detailed recommendations of what emerging “high-impact” technologies could best benefit from more federal funding, and how different sectors can work together to identify emerging technologies with broad impacts going forward.

School of Natural Resources and Environment professor Rosina Bierbaum, who is a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, is an author of the report that led to the AMP.

Meeting attendees can share thoughts on technology, education and work force development, policies that could create a fertile innovation environment, and what infrastructure could support these efforts.



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