Notre Dame a partner in two manufacturing innovation institutes awarded by President Barack Obama

Author: Sue Lister

The University of Notre Dame

The University of Notre Dame has been selected as a research partner in both of the advanced manufacturing institutes named Tuesday (Feb. 25) by President Barack Obama to receive government and private sector funding to help revolutionize manufacturing in the United States. Notre Dame is one of only two universities to be named a partner in both institutes.

Chicago’s Digital Lab for Manufacturing and the Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation (LM3I) Institute in Canton, Mich., were each awarded $70 million from the U.S. Department of Defense to enhance advanced manufacturing infrastructure and activity in the United States. In addition to the $70 million from the Department of Defense, matching private and public sector funds increase the total investment to $140 million in the LM3I institute and $320 million in Digital Lab. Notre Dame is partnered with both.

Tuesday’s announcement raises the number of new manufacturing institutes funded by the White House to three — a power electronics institute was established in January in Raleigh, N.C. These innovative institutes led by not-for-profit organizations bring together academic institutions, private companies and the government in partnership to address important applied research problems in advanced manufacturing.

“To be included in two of just three advanced institutes established to date speaks volumes about Notre Dame’s research prowess,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame president. “Poised to make real world advances in American manufacturing, Notre Dame, in collaboration with our partners, aspires to revitalize employment — especially among a Midwest workforce hit so hard by manufacturing declines over the last half century.”

The inclusion of Notre Dame in both institutes recognizes the University as a national leader in research, explained Robert J. Bernhard, vice president of research. “Notre Dame is very pleased to be a participant in both of the advanced manufacturing institutes announced today by President Obama,” Bernhard said. “These awards validate the hard work that our faculty have done over many years and open up new opportunities for them to work with local and regional corporations on advances that will be important to the national manufacturing renaissance.”

Over the next five years, Notre Dame will work with member corporations of the institutes to define areas for improvement and compete for grants from the institutes to develop the advances.

Principal investigators representing Notre Dame in the institutes are Steven R. Schmid, professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, and Richard E. Billo, associate vice president for research.

The Digital Lab, an institute for digital manufacturing and design innovation, will apply advanced technologies to reduce the time and cost of manufacturing, strengthen the capabilities of the U.S. supply chain and reduce acquisition costs. It is led by Chicago-based UI LABS, a research and commercialization collaborative. UI LABS brought together more than 20 academic institutions, 40 industry partners and local and state government as well as community partners and supporting companies and organizations to create the Digital Lab.

The LM3I will expand the market of new lightweight, high-performing metals and alloys and will pioneer manufacturing processes to make lightweight metals more affordable and competitive. It is envisioned as a “teaching factory” where applied research advances can be translated into tools, skills and a knowledge base for the modern manufacturing workforce. It is led by the Advanced Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute, a Canton, Mich.-based consortium with 16 universities and more than 60 industry members along with state and local governments.

Contact: Sue Lister, director of public relations, 574-631-7916, Sue.Lister@nd.edu