February 19, 2015    Volume 22, No. 3

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Obama's 2016 Budget Request For National Network For Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) Reaches Beyond $600 Million

By Richard A. McCormack

The Obama administration is seeking a substantial increase in funding for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), which has suddenly become a very large government-wide manufacturing program.

In adding up the budget requests for NNMI centers that have been or will be created in 2016, the total amount for NNMI comes to $608 million. The large-scale "Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation" will be funded by the Departments of Defense, Energy, Commerce and Agriculture.

But there is an even bigger dollar figure in Obama's 2016 budget request for NNMI: $1.93 billion for a "one-time mandatory funding proposal" to support the creation of 29 new institutes, according to language in the Commerce Department's funding request for the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

New institutes would build on nine that have been selected and funded through 2015, with "seven new manufacturing institutes in the Departments of Commerce, Agriculture, Defense and Energy" slated for 2016. The administration "proposes to transition this program from discretionary funds to a mandatory appropriations account, to be executed from FY 2017 to FY 2024 to complete the network of 45 institutes."

Here are the specific proposals as culled from deep within each of the agency's budget submissions:

Within NIST's 2016 budget request, the administration seeks a new outlay of $150 million for NNMI (along with hiring seven new workers) to fund two new institutes for five years "and also fund coordination efforts" for the institutes that have already been created.

The Department of Defense has projected an almost doubling of its budget for the NNMI program next year, from $71 million spent in 2015 to $137 million in 2016. In 2014, it allocated $14.3 million to the program.

In its budget submission to Congress, DOD projects its biggest spending year for the program will be in 2016 (at $137 million) falling to $99 million in 2017, $76 million in 2018 and $53 million in 2019, as federal support begins to sunset on the centers. It has created a new budget category for NNMI, telling Congress that the program has been "extracted for clarity."

DOD is taking the lead on six Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation (IMIs). It is directing them to figure out how to become self-sustaining after five years by "initiating revenue streams (membership fees, training and workforce development, certification and licensing, etc.)."

DOD is asking for $8 million in 2016 for the Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, down from $14 million in 2015. The institute now has 125 members, and plans to make its fourth call for R&D projects in 2016.

The Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute is slated for $27 million in 2016, up from $14 million in 2015 and $6 million in 2014.

The Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation Institute would receive $27.6 million in 2016 up from $13 million in 2015.

The Institute for Integrated Photonics Manufacturing is slated to receive $26.7 million in 2016 up from $20 million in 2015. The institute has not yet been established and a contractor will be picked this year.

The Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute would receive $29.7 million in 2016, up from $9.9 million in 2015. A contractor for the institute will be picked this year.

DOD has one other institute planned for 2016, at $17 million, in a technology area that has not been selected. It is considering four technical areas: engineered nano-materials; electronics packaging and reliability; aerospace and space-grade composites; and modern fibers and textiles.

Writes DOD in its 2016 budget submission: "Although each institute will formally adopt and implement its own metrics, the institutes will measure their performance in the following common areas: degree of institute self-sustainability (operations revenues/expenses); technologies transitioned to production; technology project execution performance; member participation; education and workforce outreach; and success stories."

The budget for the DOD's NNMI program is located under the "Office of Secretary of Defense, Defense-Wide Justification Book Volume 3 of 3; Research, Development, Test & Evaluation, Defense-Wide," starting on page 244: http://comptroller.defense.gov/ Portals/45/Documents/defbudget/fy2016/budget_justification/pdfs/03_RDT_and_E/PB16_OSD_0400D_Master_J-ook_Final.pdf.

The Department of Energy is requesting a big increase in funding for its NNMI program.

For fiscal year 2016, DOE is seeking $241 million for "Advanced Manufacturing R&D Facilities," which includes funding for two new "Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institutes," for which it wants to provide $70 million each in funding. It is considering new institutes that will focus on advanced materials manufacturing, two-dimensional roll-to-roll manufacturing, high efficiency modular chemical processes, and "other emerging topics in clean energy manufacturing," says the DOE budget submission.

Funding includes annual support for the four existing NNMI institutes that are currently in operation at $14 million each -- the Next Generation Power Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute established in 2014; the Advanced Composites and Structures Materials Manufacturing Institute created in 2014; the Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute selected in 2014; and the "Fourth DOE Clean Manufacturing Institute," which "will be selected through a funding opportunity announcement" this year, says DOE.

The Department of Agriculture is also getting involved in NNMI. In its 2016 budget submission, it requests $80 million to support two "multidisciplinary institutes," one dedicated to advanced bio-manufacturing, while the other focusing on the development of nanocellulosics (nanomaterials derived from plant sources) "to ensure that the United States is the leading source of commercial cellulosic nanomaterials research, innovation, production and commercialization," according to the department's budget submission. The institutes will be funded through the department's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

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