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The Abstract

NC State to Play Workforce Training Role in National Biopharmaceutical Initiative

Golden Leaf BTEC building.

North Carolina State University is part of a new initiative aimed at advancing U.S. leadership in the biopharmaceutical sector. The National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) will be coordinated by the University of Delaware and is supported with a five-year, $70 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce – and at least $129 million from a consortium of 150 companies, educational institutions, research centers, coordinating bodies, non-profits and Manufacturing Extension Partnerships across the country.

NIIMBL is the eleventh institute in the overall Manufacturing USA initiative, and NC State is involved with four of them.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our people at NC State for continuing to do inspiring and impactful work that solves the most challenging needs of our nation and the world – from training the workforce of tomorrow to engineering new technologies that improve quality of life,” said NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson.

In addition to advancing U.S. leadership in the biopharmaceutical field, NIIMBL is also tasked with fostering economic development, improving medical treatments and ensuring a qualified workforce by collaborating with educational institutions to develop new training programs matched to specific biopharma skill needs.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for the Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC), NC State and the state of North Carolina,” says Ruben Carbonell, who will serve as the chief technology officer for NIIMBL and is the director of BTEC. “BTEC will play a key role in workforce development, including academic and industry training programs, as well as process and analytical services and research,” adds Carbonell, who is also the Frank Hawkins Kenan Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at NC State.

“[NIIMBL] is a resource that will spread the risks and share the benefits across the biopharmaceutical industry of developing and gaining approval for innovative processes,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, at the announcement of the new institute Dec. 16. “The innovations created here will make it easier for industry to scale up production and provide the most ground-breaking new therapies to more patients sooner.”

NIIMBL will be coordinated by the University of Delaware, in conjunction with Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The consortium is also establishing a new non-profit organization called USA Bio LLC to administer the cooperative agreement with NIST.

NC State serves as the headquarters for Power America, which is focused on accelerating the adoption of advanced semiconductor components made with silicon carbide and gallium nitride into a wide range of products and systems.

NC State also serves as the Southeast hub for the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition, which is working to spur advances in smart sensors and digital process controls that can radically improve the efficiency of U.S. advanced manufacturing.

And NC State is a partner in the recently-announced RAPID Institute, which will focus on new technologies that maximize processes at the molecular level to save energy with every chemical reaction – making manufacturing processes more efficient and cost-effective.