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NC State to Lead Southeast Manufacturing Innovation Hub

The Memorial Belltower on a spring day.

For Immediate Release

Phillip Westmoreland

NC State University will lead the Southeast hub for a new Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (SMII) that aims to spur technological innovation to improve the efficiency of advanced manufacturing in the United States.

SMII will work in the areas of advanced sensors and controls, data analytics, advanced predictive modeling and simulation software, and application toolkits that can dramatically reduce energy expenses in advanced manufacturing.

The new institute will be led by the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition, based in Los Angeles, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy. NC State will be the home of one of five regional hubs.

“We’re pleased that the federal government has again tapped NC State as a key partner in efforts to enhance the nation’s advanced manufacturing capabilities,” said NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson. “We look forward to working with a broad coalition of leaders in academia, industry and government to strengthen the regional and national economies through innovative practices focused on technology transfer and workforce development.”

The Southeast Region hub hosted by NC State is charged with solving issues of rising energy and technology adoption costs and the lack of skilled workers in a geographic region where manufacturing growth has been particularly strong over the last few years. The NC State-led hub will include a technical focus on the energy-intensive pulp and paper industries, carbon fiber, primary metals, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and other industries.

SMII will be backed by $800 million in federal and non-federal resources and will include nearly 200 partners from industry, federal research labs, academia and state and local government across 30 states.

President Barack Obama announced the creation of SMII Monday at the third annual SelectUSA Summit in Washington, D.C.

The five SMII regional hubs will focus on research and development of new technologies, workforce development initiatives and the development and creation of test beds.

The four other SMII regional hubs announced Monday will be located at the University of California, Los Angeles; Texas A&M University; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

NC State’s Southeast Region partners include Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, Clemson University, University of Louisville, Purdue University and Georgia Tech, as well as the Oak Ridge and Savannah River national laboratories and as many as 15 industry partners.

SMII is the ninth announced hub in the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. NC State is the lead institution for one of those hubs, PowerAmerica, which is advancing the research, design and manufacturing in the area of wide bandgap semiconductor-based power electronics.