The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) officials announced a new competition for planning awards to support industry-driven consortia in developing research plans and charting collaborative actions to solve high-priority technology challenges and accelerate the growth of advanced manufacturing in the United States.
NIST's Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech) Program anticipates awarding a total of $5.6 million in two-year grants during the young program's second competition. Awards will range between about $250,000 and $500,000, subject to the availability of funds. Applications are due Oct. 31, 2014, and selections will be announced during the first half of 2015.
Teaming and partnerships that include broad participation by companies of all sizes, universities and government agencies, driven by industry, are encouraged. Nonprofit U.S. organizations as well as accredited institutions of higher education and state, tribal, and local governments are eligible to apply for the program.
AMTech's goal is to spur consortia-planned and led research on long-term, precompetitive technology needs of U.S. manufacturing industries. The program aims to help eliminate barriers to advanced manufacturing capabilities and to promote domestic development of an underpinning technology infrastructure, including high-performing supply chains.
AMTech is designed to address a serious weakness in the nation's innovation ecosystem, an issue identified by the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) and the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, among other bodies.
According to the NSTC, there is a gap between R&D activities and the deployment of technological innovations in the domestic production of goods, which is contributing significantly, for example, to the growing trade deficit in high-value-added, advanced-technology products.
In May 2014, the program conferred 19 advanced manufacturing technology planning awards totaling $9 million to new or existing industry-driven consortia. Of the 19 consortia that received awards, 11 are new efforts that are being launched with AMTech funding. Collaborations spanned a wide variety of industries and technologies, from flexible-electronics manufacturing to biomanufacturing and from pulp-and-paper manufacturing to forming and joining technologies.
Full details of the solicitation, including eligibility requirements, selection criteria, legal requirements and the mechanism for submitting proposals are found in an announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) posted at Grants.gov under funding opportunity number 2014-NIST-AMTECH-01.
Pre-applications are required for this AMTech competition and are due by 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time, Sept.5, 2014. Full applications must be received by 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time, Oct. 31, 2014.
NIST will host webinars on the AMTech funding opportunity on Aug. 14, 2014, beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern time. The events will offer guidance on the AMTech program and preparing proposals. Webinar participants will be able to ask questions. Advance registration is required. To register for the Aug. 14 webinar go to: www.nist.gov/amo/amtech-webinar-2.cfm.
The text of the FFO announcement also is available at www.nist.gov/amo/funding.cfm.
More information on the AmTech program is available at: www.nist.gov/amo.