US Science and Technology Policy Chief
December 5, 2011, UCB, Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, Berkeley, CA—Tom Kalil from the office of the President's Office of Science and Technology described the governments' efforts to advance domestic manufacturing capabilities. These next-generation processes will be both the necessary and also the enabling technologies for world-wide competitiveness.
Advanced manufacturing is a broad topic, so the first tasks are to identify the goals for the program. Some of the programs the government sponsors include materials research at Carnegie-Mellon, Department of Energy efforts to increase industrial energy efficiency by 50 percent. Other programs are DARPA's research into improving ground vehicle performance and efficiency by a factor of 5, and investigations into reducing development times for synthetic biology.
The second task is to identify how to cultivate and manage cross-sector transfers. Research in the universities create centers of excellence, funded by government and industry cost-sharing partnerships. This research is usually focused on single industries, like semiconductors. Just as important is the sharing of data, especially in emerging areas like structural genomics. To implement the findings and to provide proof of concept platforms, the research centers share facilities, like the semiconductor sharing foundries in multi-project wafer starts.
Ultimately, the research has to be supported by design tools that are linked to the manufacturing processes. The tools will have to balance the resources and constraints of the technologies, and enable design to understand the manufacturing issues while providing feed-forward information from design to the manufacturing areas. This type of merged design and manufacturing tool will require engineers and software developers who have a multi-disciplinary education, something the research universities are pursuing.