Manufacturing's Future: Effects of Technology on Industry

February 8, 2013
Rob Atkinson's panel at the Atlantic's Manufacturing's Next Chapter

Parts of hearing aids, dentures and invisalign braces are made using 3D printers. But is 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, paving the way for the next era of manufacturing in the United States?Some say yes, but Rob Atkinson, of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, says manufacturing needs something more, because the trend of 3D printing will not be widely used by individuals. “It’s cool,” but “it’s not big,” he said. Read more »

The Atlantic's Manufacturing's Next Chapter

February 6, 2013
| Presentations

On February 7 in Washington, D.C.,The Atlantic will host a full-day program focused on all aspects of the manufacturing sector at The Newseum Knight Conference Center, Sixth Street Entrance555 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001.

ITIF president Rob Atkinson will present on a panel at 2:35 PM on the effects of technology on industry. Visit the cofnerence website

Cut to Invest: Support the Designation of 20 "U.S. Manufacturing Universities"

January 14, 2013
| Reports

Congress should establish an initiative to designate 20 institutions of higher education as “U.S. Manufacturing Universities” as part of a needed push to strengthen the position of the United States in the increasingly innovation-driven global economy. In 1862, Congress passed the Morrill Act, which established land-grant colleges to promote learning in “agriculture and the mechanic arts.” These colleges played a key role in enabling the United States to later take the lead in the mechanization of agriculture and the industrialization of the economy. Today, the challenge is even greater as America competes against a wide array of nations seeking to win the race for global innovation advantage, especially in advanced manufacturing. A new cadre of federally-designated “Manufacturing Universities” that revamp their engineering programs with particular emphasis on work that is relevant to manufacturing firms while providing engineering students with real-world work experience should be part of the solution.

Creating the Manufacturing University

January 14, 2013
| Blogs & Op-eds

As industrial production has moved overseas, the engineering, product development and technology innovation that are key components of manufacturing has gone with it. And it is getting worse. In an effort to address this potential catastrophe and restore American leadership in manufacturing, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program are proposing that the federal government support the designation of a core of approximately 20 leading “manufacturing universities.” This would include significant federal investment of $25 million per university and the creation of a network of industry-university partnerships that could provide the technical training and applied research necessary to transform American industries and assist us in better competing globally.

China is now the world's largest manufacturer of passenger vehicles.

The U.S. share of global passenger vehicle production fell by almost half from 1999 to 2008 (15 percent to 8 percent), as the Chinese share rocketed from less than 2 percent to nearly 13 percent, making China now the world's largest manufacturer of passenger vehicles. The United States' longtime strength in machine tools has evaporated, with U.S. production of machine tools falling to 5 percent and China's rising to 35 percent. While manufacturing is hard hit, isn't the U.S. high-tech industry doing well? Not really. Read more »

China's Indigenous Innovation Policy and the Semiconductor Industry

December 13, 2012 - 9:00am - 10:30am
The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
1101 K Street NW
Suite 610A
District of Columbia

China’s semiconductor industry poses an interesting advanced manufacturing puzzle: Why is it that, despite massive government efforts to build indigenous innovation and production capabilities, Chinese firms still play a very limited role in semiconductor production, integrated circuit design, and innovation? Read more »

Why America Needs a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation

December 11, 2012 - 9:00am - 10:30am
Capitol Visitor Center
United States Capitol
HVC 200

In perhaps the boldest initiative to revitalize American manufacturing since the 1988 passage of the Omnibus Foreign Trade and Competitiveness Act, the Obama Administration has proposed investing $1 billion―to be matched by private and state funds―to create a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). Read more »

Why America Needs a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation

December 11, 2012
| Reports

America needs a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. This paper sets forth the argument for this proposition in two parts. The first part makes the case for an innovation-centered national manufacturing policy. It lays out key challenges facing the U.S. manufacturing sector, advances reasons why the nation should care about manufacturing, and sets forth the rationale for an active federal role in fostering manufacturing innovation. Crucially, this role should be catalytic, not directive; federal actions should spur other key players, especially the private sector, into action and foster stronger collaboration among them.

The second half of the paper articulates five key principles that should govern the design of the NNMI. These principles are:

  • A focus within each of the NNMI’s constituent Institutes on significant, industry-defined innovation challenges, particularly in process innovation;
  • Support for the full innovation process, including technology roadmapping, applied research, operation of demonstration facilities and testbeds that benefit small and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises (SMEs), education and training at all levels, and development of standards and credentials;
  • Collaboration among academia, business, government, and other partners, led by manufacturers;
  • A bottom-up competitive process, managed by the federal government, to identify innovation focus areas and select collaborative teams;
  • Private-public co-investment, with manufacturers providing about 50 percent of each Institute’s resources and federal and state agencies carrying most of the balance.
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