NSF News

NSF invests $35M in future manufacturing

Manufacturing is a linchpin of the U.S. economy, bolstering national security, economic growth, and American employment. Through the Future Manufacturing program, the U.S. National Science Foundation makes targeted investments in the future of manufacturing research and helps grow the manufacturing workforce. It is one of several NSF programs that support advanced manufacturing.

The Future Manufacturing program's purpose is to discover manufacturing solutions that overcome current scientific, technological, educational, economic, and social barriers to provide new manufacturing capabilities for U.S. companies. This is the fourth year of NSF investment in Future Manufacturing, totaling more than $137 million.

"NSF has a critical role in developing advanced technologies, growing the workforce and building resilient supply chains to bolster U.S. manufacturing," said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. "NSF will continue to push the frontiers of what is possible — advances such as the manufacturing of biological therapeutics, manufacturing in space and underwater, and optimizing manufacturing with AI — to improve our nation's prosperity, competitiveness and quality of life."

Targeted NSF investments in fundamental research and education in manufacturing will catalyze new manufacturing capabilities that do not exist today. The 21 awards for 2023 invest over $35 million across 40 institutions in 25 states, including six Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research jurisdictions.

The 2023 awards consist of:

  • 10 research grants that each receive up to $3 million over four years for convergence research of significant scope, including fundamental research and workforce development.
  • 11 seed grants that each receive up to $500,000 over two years to develop multidisciplinary teams and generate preliminary results leading toward a research grant proposal.

The new projects focus on three areas:

  • Biomanufacturing research that harnesses biology and/or integrates biological materials in manufacturing.
  • Cyber-manufacturing research that transforms the predictability, security, reliability, and efficiency of manufacturing.
  • Eco-manufacturing research that redesigns entire manufacturing lifecycles and supply chains for sustainability.

Advanced Manufacturing is one of the NSF Emerging Industries and aligns with key technology areas and the National Engineering Biology Research and Development Initiative in the "CHIPS and Science Act of 2022." This year, in addition to the Future Manufacturing investment, NSF initiated new investments in semiconductor design and fabrication, quantum manufacturing, manufacturing systems integration, regional innovation ecosystems and experiential learning.

Each year, manufacturers across the U.S., in association with the National Association of Manufacturers, the Manufacturing Institute and federal agency partners, host events for the public on Manufacturing Day and throughout the month of October. The events showcase modern manufacturing careers and encourage companies and institutions to engage with students, parents, educators, and community leaders to promote highly skilled and technical roles in manufacturing. The investments highlighted above are examples of how NSF supports advanced manufacturing throughout the year.