A host of cross-cutting federal, state, and regional initiatives have recently been announced with targeted objectives that include accelerating the innovation cycle for U.S. manufacturing and enhancing the connections between academic research and industry driven commercialization. In establishing such public-private partnerships, a key goal is to provide the platform for industry to leap the “Valley of Death”, the proverbial chasm that lies between innovations within small businesses and academia, and commercial scale-up and manufacturing. Prime examples of these initiatives include the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), announced last year by the Obama administration, and the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) that may include up to 15 Institutes within the U.S. targeting different sectors of manufacturing innovation. Staying on course with this model, the administration this week announced a $26 million multi-agency Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge to foster innovation-fueled job creation through public-private partnerships. These coordinated investments will help catalyze and leverage private capital, build an entrepreneurial ecosystem, and promote cluster-based development in regions across the U.S., further leveraging, for example, the many successful regional, state, and local initiatives and frameworks that have been developed.
As nanotechnology innovation and commercialization is firmly embedded within the framework of advanced manufacturing in the U.S., this is welcome news to the investment community and stakeholders in nanomanufacturing. While innovations fostered through R&D investments in the nanosciences hold significant promise for societal and economic impact, navigating the path from lab to fab remains relatively long for many nanotechnology companies, requiring a special fortitude for entrepreneurs and investors alike. As many investors and stakeholders now claim to see the light at the end of the tunnel, it is essential to ensure this light is not in fact a train coming at us. The Nanomanufacturing Summit 2012, to be held in Boston, MA, this September, is a two-day forum to assess the current state of nanotechnology innovation and commercialization, providing participants and attendees with the latest on emerging nanomanufacturing trends, successful transitions to commercialization, federal and state resources, including user facilities, models for regional cluster development and initiatives, and perspectives on nanomanufacturing within the framework of advanced manufacturing for global competitiveness.
This year’s event, being co-organized by the National Nanomanufacturing Network (NNN) and the NanoBusiness Commercialization Association (NanoBCA), will provide an opportunity to learn about initiatives in environmental health and safety, nanoinformatics, materials properties and database developments, and legislative activities impacting the broader nanomanufacturing community. The event will foster the critical collaboration and information exchange needed to realize both the societal and economic benefits offered by integrative nanomanufacturing techniques. To this end, a full program has been designed to feature keynote speakers along with invited and contributed presentations highlighting areas of research that facilitate the transition from fundamental research to innovation to implementations fostering the commercial development of nanoscale systems and devices. The event further includes research poster sessions, networking receptions, and topical panel discussions on emerging trends and opportunities in nanomanufacturing and commercialization of nano-enabled technologies. On behalf of the NNN and NanoBCA, we look forward seeing you at this year’s exciting event.