GAITHERSBURG, MD—The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) plans to create a new Manufacturing USA institute focused on artificial intelligence technology. NIST anticipates that $70 million in federal funds will be invested in the initiative over five years, with an equal or greater contribution from private and other nonfederal funding sources.

“AI is an accelerator of our productivity and of human abilities,” says U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “It can make us better, faster and stronger in so many ways. I’m particularly excited about the potential for AI to supercharge manufacturing, and the ways it can strengthen American workers and businesses and make our country more competitive in the global economy.

“Manufacturers that make smart use of AI to improve operational performance and strengthen supply chains will be more productive and resilient as they compete in an increasingly crowded global marketplace,” adds Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Laurie Locascio. “We look forward to reviewing applications for a new Manufacturing USA institute that will strengthen the national economy by helping domestic manufacturers maximize the potential of AI.”

Manufacturing USA is a national network of institutes that brings together people, ideas and technology to solve advanced manufacturing challenges. All institutes are public-private collaborations focused on technology, supply chain, and education and workforce development.

According to Locascio, the AI institute will conduct R&D projects, establish employer-led sectoral partnerships to develop training resources, and create pathways for the skilled workforce needed to move innovation into industrial practice.

NIST plans to use a two-stage process for soliciting applications for the institute. Concept papers will be considered in the first stage of the competition. In the second stage, applicants with the best concepts will be invited to submit full proposals.