Advanced Manufacturing Partnership: From Drawing Board to Assembly Line

Posted on July 5, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

By Scott Orr

President Obama recently unveiled a new program aimed at amping up cooperation between the government and private sector to speed new high tech inventions from the drawing board to the assembly line.

We’re calling it AMP, A-M-P -– the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership,” Obama said during recent remarks at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Its goal is to speed the transition of new ideas into new products.

“American innovation has always been sparked by individual scientists and entrepreneurs, often at universities like Carnegie Mellon or Georgia Tech or Berkeley or Stanford. But a lot of companies don’t invest in early ideas because it won’t pay off right away,” Obama said.

Obama said the new program is aimed at institutionalizing cooperation between government and private companies, which already has been a successful formula for bringing new products to market.

“That’s how we ended up with some of the world-changing innovations that fueled our growth and prosperity and created countless jobs — the mobile phone, the Internet, GPS, more than 150 drugs and vaccines over the last 40 years was all because we were able to, in strategic ways, bring people together and make some critical investments,” he said.

At the same time, the program plays into the President’s re-election plans which will undoubtedly need a strong jobs focus. Early product development jobs are less likely to be outsourced abroad, since they require close collaboration with inventors and early investors.

The White House said, for example, that the Department of Energy, Ford Motor Company and the National Association of Manufacturers will work together to develop new manufacturing standards. The program also will tap the resources of the National Science Foundation, NASA, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Agriculture to work on next-generation robots.

The initiative will be led by Dow Chemical Chairman CEO Andrew Liveris and Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Susan Hockfield.

“Imagine if America was first to develop and mass-produce a new treatment that kills cancer cells but leaves healthy ones untouched; or solar cells you can brush onto a house for the same cost as paint; or flexible displays that soldiers can wear on their arms; or a car that drives itself,” Obama said.

“Those things aren’t science fiction –- they’re real. They’re being developed and deployed in labs and factories and on test tracks right now,” Obama said. “And the purpose of this partnership is to prove that the United States of America has your back, is going to be supporting you — because that’s the kind of adventurous, pioneering spirit that we need right now.”

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