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Presidentís Council of Advisors on Science and Technology: Report to the President on Capturing Domestic Competitive Advantage in Advanced Manufacturing, July 2012

Published July 1, 2012

The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology adopted the recommendations of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) Steering Committee in July 2012. This report builds on the 2011 AMP report, Ensuring American Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing.

In June 2011, President Obama established the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) Steering Committee, which includes professionals from industry, university, and government settings, to study technologies and skills required to support the manufacturing sector. After this report's publication, President Obama outlined his plan to advance manufacturing, which includes specific legislative proposals and executive actions.

Executive Report of the AMP Steering Committee

Advanced manufacturing is not limited to emerging technologies; rather, it is composed of efficient, productive, highly integrated, tightly controlled processes across a spectrum of globally competitive U.S. manufacturers and suppliers. For advanced manufacturing to accelerate and thrive in the United States, it will require the active participation of communities, educators, workers, and businesses, as well as Federal, State, and local governments.

The Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) Steering Committee proposes that the Nation establish a national advanced manufacturing strategy. This strategy will serve as a national framework that, when implemented by states and local communities, will bring about a sustainable resurgence in advanced manufacturing in the United States.

The AMP Steering Committee developed a set of 16 recommendations around three pillars:

  • Enabling innovation
  • Securing the talent pipeline
  • Improving the business climate

These recommendations are aimed at reinventing manufacturing in a way that ensures U.S. competitive≠ness, feeds into the Nation's innovation economy, and invigorates the domestic manufacturing base. The objective is to position the Nation to lead the world in new disruptive advanced manufacturing technologies that are changing the face of manufacturing.

The AMP Steering Committee believes that a number of important steps taken now will be critical to strengthen the Nation's innovation system for advanced manufacturing. While some of the largest U.S. firms have the depth and resources to be ready for this challenge, a significant number of small and medium-sized U.S. firms operate largely outside the present innovation system. The United States will only lead in advanced manufacturing if all companies are able to participate in the transformations made possible through innovations in manufacturing.

The AMP Steering Committee proposes 16 recommendations that will set the stage for advanced manufacturing to thrive in the United States:

Enabling Innovation

1. Establish a National Advanced Manufacturing Strategy: The AMP Steering Committee proposes establishing and maintaining a national advanced manufacturing strategy by putting in place a systematic process to identify and prioritize critical cross-cutting technologies.

2. Increase R&D Funding in Top Cross-Cutting Technologies: In addition to identifying a "starter list" of cross-cutting technologies that are vital to advanced manufacturing, the AMP Steering Committee proposes a process for evaluating technologies for research and development (R&D) funding.

3. Establish a National Network of Manufacturing Innovation Institutes (MIIs): The AMP Steering Committee proposes the formation of MIIs as public-private partnerships to foster regional ecosystems in advanced manufacturing technologies. MIIs are one vehicle to integrate many of the Committee's recommendations.

4. Empower Enhanced Industry/University Collaboration in Advanced Manufacturing Research: The AMP Steering Committee recommends a change in the treatment of tax-free bond-funded facilities at universities that will enable greater and stronger interactions between universities and industry.

5. Foster a More Robust Environment for Commercialization of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies: The AMP Steering Committee recommends that action is taken to connect manufacturers to university innovation ecosystems and create a continuum of capital access from start up to scale up.

6. Establish a National Advanced Manufacturing Portal: The AMP Steering Committee recom≠mends that a searchable database of manufacturing resources is created as a key mechanism to support access by small and medium-sized enterprises to enabling infrastructure.

Securing the Talent Pipeline

7. Correct Public Misconceptions About Manufacturing: Building excitement and interest in careers in manufacturing is a critical national need, and an advertising campaign is recom≠mended by the AMP Steering Committee as one important step in this direction.

8. Tap the Talent Pool of Returning Veterans: Returning veterans possess many of the key skills needed to fill the skills gap in the manufacturing talent pipeline. The AMP Steering Committee makes specific recommendations on how to connect these veterans with manufacturing employment opportunities.

9. Invest in Community College Level Education: The community college level of education is the "sweet spot" for reducing the skills gap in manufacturing. Increased investment in this sector is recommended, following the best practices of leading innovators.

10. Develop Partnerships to Provide Skills Certifications and Accreditation: Portability and modularity of the credentialing process in advanced manufacturing is critical to allow coor≠dinated action of organizations that feed the talent pipeline. The AMP Steering Committee supports the establishment of stackable credentials.

11. Enhance Advanced Manufacturing University Programs: The AMP Steering Committee recommends that universities bring new focus to advanced manufacturing through the devel≠opment of educational modules and courses.

12. Launch National Manufacturing Fellowships & Internships: The AMP Steering Committee supports the creation of national fellowships and internships in advanced manufacturing in order to bring needed resources but more importantly national recognition to manufacturing career opportunities.

Improving the Business Climate

13. Enact Tax Reform: The AMP Steering Committee recommends a set of specific tax reforms that can "level the playing field" for domestic manufacturers.

14. Streamline Regulatory Policy: The AMP Steering Committee recommends a framework for smarter regulations relating to advanced manufacturing.

15. Improve Trade Policy: Trade policies can have an adverse impact on advanced manufacturing firms in the United States. The AMP Steering Committee recommends specific actions that can be taken to improve trade policy.

16. Update Energy Policy: The manufacturing sector is a large consumer of energy, and conse≠quently, domestic energy policies can have a profound impact on global competitiveness. The AMP Steering Committee makes specific policy recommendations regarding energy issues of importance in manufacturing.

With sustained focus, alignment of interests, and coordinated action to implement the above recommen≠dations, the United States can and will lead the world in advanced manufacturing. Already today, there are examples of new manufacturing technologies emerging from research laboratories that will have a transformative effect on the way manufacturing is done in America. Together, government, industry, and academia must commit to re-invent the national manufacturing base to ensure our Nation's future.

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