Dear Colleague Letter: Aligning Fundamental Research and Education in Advanced Manufacturing with the Objectives of the Manufacturing USA Institutes


Manufacturing USA is a national network of manufacturing institutes established in 2014 by the multi-agency collaboration that guided its formation. Each Institute focuses on a specific manufacturing technology and the education of a skilled workforce to advance it and has the corresponding expertise, facilities, infrastructure and university and industrial membership to undertake projects that transition manufacturing technologies from Manufacturing Readiness Level (MRL) 4 (laboratory demonstration) to MRL 7 (implementation in an environment representative of production). The objectives of the Manufacturing USA institutes are highly complementary to those of the National Science Foundation (NSF), which focus on MRL 1 (basic research) to MRL 3 (proof of concept), providing opportunities to speed the translation of NSF-sponsored research and educational innovations to use.

Manufacturing USA Institutes cover a wide range of topical areas that span the challenging and high-tech world of advanced manufacturing, from biopharmaceutical production and tissue printing to robotics and cybersecurity. NSF is interested in receiving proposals addressing critical fundamental research on and workforce development needs for advanced manufacturing that enable innovations in the technical focus areas of one or more of the Manufacturing USA Institutes.

This DCL encourages the submission of research and educational proposals that align with the technical focus areas of the Manufacturing USA Institutes to established NSF programs in the Directorates for Engineering (ENG), STEM Education (EDU), and Technology Innovation and Partnerships (TIP). Proposal submissions should detail explicit collaborations with Institutes to facilitate the transition of promising research results and educational programs to them, leverage the programs, facilities, infrastructure, expertise, and member companies of one or more Institutes, and/or provide experiential learning opportunities for students. Proposal submissions that include internship opportunities for student researchers in the institutes and their member companies are strongly encouraged.