President launches manufacturing hub in Tennessee

Jan. 11, 2015

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will lead a new manufacturing hub called the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, or IACMI, according to a Friday announcement by President Obama.

A $259 million public-private partnership, the institute has received a $70 million commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy and $189 million from IACMI’s partners, including a $15 million commitment from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. The hub will be home to 122 public and private partners that are coming together to develop materials that are lighter and stronger than steel.

“The reason we’re here is because wherever Americans are doing big things that can help build our middle class and grow our economy and extend opportunity to everybody, I want to be here to lift it up and figure out how we can promote more of it,” said Obama during the announcement in Clinton, TN.

“This project places the university and its partners in a unique position to strengthen Tennessee’s economy,” said UT Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek in a press release. “We are very honored to have been selected for this role in shaping the future of composites manufacturing through IACMI. This will build upon our deep collaborations with our consortium partners and spark innovation and growth within our nation’s industries.”

UT reports that the institute is regionally organized around five focus areas: vehicles (Michigan); wind turbines (Colorado); compressed gas storage (Ohio); design, modeling, and simulation (Indiana); and composite materials and processing technology (Tennessee, supported by Kentucky).

“The UT Research Foundation’s involvement to establish IACMI was critical to the project’s success and will further the university’s efforts to boost our state’s economic development through the creation of new intellectual property,” said David Millhorn, UT Research Foundation president and CEO, and UT System executive vice president and vice president for research.

Supported by the Advanced Manufacturing Office in the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, IACMI joins four other institutes backed by the Obama administration in a recent push to accelerate advanced manufacturing innovation.

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