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Advanced Manufacturing

MIT’s historic focus on mens et manus – mind and hands – catalyzes a wide range of research, policy, and education, and workforce training efforts in advanced manufacturing. By engaging and leading these efforts across disciplines and as part of public-private consortiums, MIT helps to ensure that we can not only “invent it here” but also “make it here” at manufacturing volumes beyond initial prototyping.

Many MIT engagements in advanced manufacturing with industry and government are coordinated under the Office of the Provost and in partnership with MITii by Krystyn Van Vliet, MITii’s Director of Manufacturing Innovation. MITii also serves as a contact point for information on existing MIT programs in advanced manufacturing education, research, policy, and funding opportunities.


 National Network for Manufacturing Innovation Institutes

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Designed to foster innovation and accelerate advanced manufacturing in the U.S., new public-private consortiums are working to create a sustainable manufacturing innovation ecosystem. Known as the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation Institutes (NNMI Institutes), each such Institute has a unique manufacturing technology focus.

MIT currently participates in four of the eight existing NNMI Institutes. Notably, MIT convened the newest of these MIIs, named the Advanced Functional Fibers of America (AFFOA) Institute, which will be launched formally in October 2016 and headquartered near MIT’s campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. AFFOA Institute will be operated independently as a $317 million partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and a nationwide consortium of academic, industry, nonprofit, and state economic development partners. AFFOA Institute includes a new vision for a distributed foundry for functional fabric production and for training the workforce of the future.

Additionally, MIT leads and coordinates the education and workforce training program of AIM Photonics, called the AIM Photonics Academy, developing online/hands-on tools for photonic device manufacturing integrated with industry partners. And in NextFlex, MIT is proposing “education factories” that integrate manufacturing training for flexible hybrid electronics with development of training skills and kits that inspire today’s young “makers” to make more.


Advanced Manufacturing Partnership 

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The U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) recommended in its June 2011 “Report to the President on Ensuring American Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing” that the federal government create a fertile environment for innovation, particularly manufacturing innovation, as part of the development of ecosystems that help universities and companies and employees flourish in the U.S. On the basis of that report, PCAST’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) Steering Committee, co-chaired by MIT President Susan Hockfield and Dow Chemical CEO and President Andrew Liveris, was established. MIT hosted the New England Regional AMP Meeting in 2011, and produced analyses that prompted the establishment of the Advanced Manufacturing Program Office and the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI).

This process of identifying public-private partnerships to stimulate manufacturing technology innovation and workforce development was considered so successful that AMP2.0 was established in 2013-2014, and co-chaired by MIT Presient Rafael Reif and Dow CEO Andrew Liveris. AMP2.0 included deeper analysis into manufacturing technology areas of shared public-private priority, scale-up of new technologies and companies, education and workforce development, the function of the nascent NNMI, and the image of manufacturing careers. The PCAST reflected such findings in its October 2014 “Report to the President on Accelerating Manufacturing Innovation” that included several recommendations by PCAST for continued federal engagement and public-private partnership models. AMP2.0 also included methodologies to prioritize and analyze emerging manufacturing technologies for various modes of investment, including but not limited to Manufacturing Innovation Institutes that are funded presently by federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Energy. 


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Production in the Innovation Economy (PIE) was an MIT-led multiyear study, culminating in a 2013 conference and two books, that sought to analyze how innovation moves to market. What role do production capabilities play in bringing the innovation to life? What kind of industrial ecosystem accelerates innovation and production? Does having manufacturing in proximity to innovation enhance the returns to the economy? Create more jobs and sustainable growth at home? These are the questions addressed in a three-year long research project carried out by teams of MIT faculty and students that resulted in two books, Making in America: From Innovation to Market and Production in the Innovation Economy. The results of PIE informed the content and pace of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership 1.0 (2012-2013) and 2.0 (2013-2014).


MIT Education & Workforce Training Programs with Industry Partners


Federal Initiatives, Investments and Programs in Advanced Manufacturing

Several federal initiatives exist and are linked within the public manufacturing.gov portal of the U.S. Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office. MIT provides comment to and participation in several of these initiatives, or works with state-level programs to build regional strengths in advanced manufacturing education and workforce development. These include: