The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has awarded $3.4 million in grants to support high-impact projects for COVID-19 pandemic response. The funding goes to four Manufacturing USA® institutes, which are public-private partnerships working with academic and private sector manufacturing organizations on applied research and development and advanced manufacturing skills training. Each institute focuses on an advanced manufacturing specialty such as biopharmaceuticals, 3D printing, or wearable sensors.
The following projects were chosen to receive funding through a competitive process, based on technical merit and impact related to the COVID-19 national emergency:
- America Makes: Building Partnerships to Increase Production of Medical Equipment. The $1.4 million award will allow America Makes, in partnership with fellow Manufacturing USA institute MxD, to expand production of medical countermeasure components such as personal protective equipment (PPE) using additive and digital manufacturing technologies.
- LIFT: Operation Next Training for Pandemic Recovery. With its $1 million award, LIFT will train 250 workers in the Pittsburgh and Detroit areas in CNC machine operations, industrial technology maintenance, welding and robotics.
- Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing: Collaborative Robots for COVID-19 Testing. The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) institute will receive more than $600,000 to develop a safe method to use collaborative robots to automate much of the COVID-19 testing process.
- BioFabUSA: Technology Roadmapping for Pandemic Response and Recover. ARMI|BioFabUSA will receive $400,000 to develop and share a road map for organizations to follow for pandemic response and recovery.