The Department of Defense (DoD) will partner with the private sector and academia to boost progress in new frontiers of manufacturing. The Obama administration announced that it will award funds to create a Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Flexible Hybrid Electronics by a consortium led by the FlexTech Alliance.
The FlexTech Alliance proposed the consortium, which comprises 96 companies, 41 universities, 14 state and local government organizations, and 11 labs and non-profits. The group will focus on advancing new directions in manufacturing flexible hybrid electronics. The DoD will invest $75 million over 5 years, which will be matched by more than $90 million coming from industry partners, academic institutes, and local governments. The technologies to be developed by this consortium will have be relevant for both consumer and military applications. The products will range from wearables to medical health monitoring technologies. These will be developed using innovative processes such electronic device handling and high precision printing on flexible and stretchable substrates. It is expected that the entrepreneurial culture of Silicon Valley combined with DoD initiatives and availability of its laboratories will accelerate the development of new and innovative products and commercial opportunities.
After seeing a decline in 2000s, more than 900,000 manufacturing jobs have been added in US since 2010, according to the DoD statement. Investment in projects such as this one is intended to further the growth of manufacturing jobs in US while maintaining innovation leadership.