California is new headquarters for smart manufacturing institute

June 21, 2016
By: Daniel McGlynn
President Obama
President Obama announcing creation of the Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute

On June 20, at a conference of global business leaders in Washington, D.C., President Obama announced the creation of a new $140 million Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII), to be headquartered at UCLA, with a Berkeley-based regional center.

The mission of the new institute, consisting of 200 partners from 30 states representing a wide spectrum of interests across industry and academia, is to help hone advanced manufacturing’s competitive edge in the United States by increasing efficiency and accelerating the adoption of technologies such as advanced sensors, data analytics and digital controls in manufacturing.

Berkeley researchers will examine the pace of technology transfer between academia and industry. “We will work in tandem with small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as large companies, to develop best practices for integrating new technologies into industry,” says Tarek Zohdi, professor of mechanical engineering and one of Berkeley’s representatives to the institute. Mechanical engineering professor Paul Wright and the late David Dornfeld, inaugural director of the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, also played key roles in crafting the proposal for the new smart manufacturing institute.

CESMII is part of the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition and operates in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition to the UCLA-based institute, President Obama announced that $800 million in federal and private money will go toward building five new manufacturing research centers across the country. The goal is to add capacity to the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation, a 2014 initiative to increase the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing by streamlining research and development and increasing collaboration among industry, academia and federal partners.

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