A massive digital manufacturing institute in Illinois is expected to have some strong Indiana connections. The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded $70 million to create the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute. It will be based in Chicago and led by the University of Illinois' UI Labs. Partners from 17 states include Purdue University, Indiana University and the University of Notre Dame.
Illinois officials announced the federal funding over the weekend.
President Barack Obama is expected to unveil more details about the UI Labs-led initiative and another hub in Michigan during a speech Tuesday.
February 24, 2014
WASHINGTON D.C. – Governor Pat Quinn today announced that the U.S. Department of Defense has awarded $70 million to UI Labs of Chicago, a public-private partnership that will combine the award with $16 million in state funds and other contributions to form the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation (DMDI) Institute. The DMDI will be a first-of-its-kind digital hub with the capability to transform American manufacturing. Today's announcement is part of Governor Quinn's agenda laid out in his State of the State address to advance the high-tech industry in Illinois, creating jobs and driving the state's economy forward.
“This announcement is part of my vision to make Illinois the capital of high-tech manufacturing and provides more proof we are making a comeback,” Governor Quinn said. “After I made advanced manufacturing a priority in my 2013 State of the State, we aggressively pursued this opportunity for high-tech manufacturing and innovation for Illinois. My favorite words are made in America and made in Illinois, and this partnership will create high-tech manufacturing jobs across both our state and nation for years to come.”
The $175 million DMDI will apply the newest technologies to help manufacturers try and use new innovations in digital manufacturing and design, with an emphasis on defense manufacturers. This will mean better products, faster production and lower costs for U.S. manufacturers. The $16 million state investment in DMDI includes the launch of the Illinois Manufacturing Lab, additional equipment and workforce training, and providing Illinois companies with the assistance they need to utilize the DMDI.
In December Governor Quinn, the University of Illinois and UI LABS launched the Illinois Manufacturing Lab, a critical first step in the development of DMDI. The lab, proposed in the Governor's 2013 State of the State address, is helping Illinois companies identify and solve advanced manufacturing challenges. He also invested $60 million in the Blue Waters supercomputer at the U of I, a critical asset to enable innovation in manufacturing, and secured a $12 million workforce training grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to support high-tech skills development for employees at Illinois manufacturers.
Governor Quinn also brought key private sector partners into DMDI, including CAT, Deere & Company and Lockheed Martin, and communicated frequently with the Secretary of Defense and the White House about the importance of DMDI. He worked closely with the Office of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, World Business Chicago, the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition, the University of Illinois, Northwestern University, The University of Chicago, Northern Illinois University, and partners in 17 states to make the DMDI a reality.
“I am very excited to hear Illinois was selected to house the new Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute, one of three manufacturing institutes the President announced in last year’s State of the Union. Led by UI LABS, and with partners from across the state, this federal and state funded public-private partnership has the potential to revolutionize the way the United States approaches manufacturing,” U.S. Senator Richard Durbin said. “It will bring together innovative research with product development, with the goal of making our factories smarter, faster and more efficient. Most importantly, this Institute will encourage manufacturing investment and production in the United States, which in turn will spur economic growth and create jobs in Illinois and the Midwest.”
The DMDI will spur the creation of thousands of jobs in advanced manufacturing fields, many requiring new skills for which the Institute's academic partners can provide training. This will make the U.S. economy more competitive and generate billions of dollars of economic impact. In addition, new product development and production will be accelerated, putting U.S. companies ahead of international competitors.
UI LABS is a Chicago-based research and commercialization collaborative that brings industries, universities and government together to apply real solutions to tomorrow’s most important business, economic and cultural challenges. UI LABS actively cultivates and channels talent and resources, fosters unbiased collaboration to bring new ideas to market, and drives economic growth and competitiveness. For more information on DMDI, visit www.UILABS.org.
Sources: The State of Illinois, U.S. Department of Defense