Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, June 24, 2011

U-M and other universities outline plan for partnership

U-M is committed to the new Advanced Manufacturing Partnership to help grow jobs by improving competitiveness and encouraging new technology. U-M and five other universities in the AMP, to be announced this morning by President Obama, have outlined a preliminary plan for how they will work with leaders from industry and the federal government on the initiative.


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The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Stanford University, University of California-Berkeley and U-M were named by the president today as the educational institutions that will represent higher education in the partnership.

For their part, the universities will commit to form a multi-university collaborative framework for sharing of educational materials and best practices relating to advanced manufacturing and its linkage to innovation. This could include:

• Develop an ‘Open Courseware’ model for broad dissemination of advanced manufacturing courses, which would include an ‘open source’ concept for contribution and enhancement of the materials.

• Engage with industry to define educational needs, including:
— Collaborate with community colleges in the development of curriculum.
— Develop new pedagogical methods for introducing advanced manufacturing concepts into core undergraduate engineering curriculum (e.g., development of lab modules/demos, introduction of manufacturing variance into design/analysis subjects, etc.).
— Hold annual ‘summits’ on advanced manufacturing education.
— Develop K-12 outreach materials on advanced manufacturing.
— Develop prizes and competitions that promote advanced manufacturing awareness and interest.

• Join together with industry partners and leading government agencies to define research opportunities. This would include:
— Development of Advanced Manufacturing Research Roadmaps.
— Articulation and recommendations of needs for shared/common infrastructure to support research and technology transitioning in advanced manufacturing. This might include 'pilot plants' and other critical transitioning infrastructure.

Jack Hu, G. Lawton and Louise G. Johnson Professor of Engineering and associate dean for academic affairs, College of Engineering (CoE), says the universities have committed to developing a joint report with a detailed action plan within 100 days of the president’s announcement.

“All of the universities involved will work together to accomplish these goals,” Hu said. “U-M will bring to the table an excellent record in manufacturing research, education and in partnering with industry.”

Hu notes that U-M already has pieces in place that could serve as a starting point for some of the objectives. For example, the university has been offering Master of Engineering and Doctor of Engineering in Manufacturing degrees since 1993, and it also has a Master of Engineering degree in Global Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering. Courses for these master’s programs are available via Web technologies and can be made available to collaborating partner universities and community colleges, Hu says.

U-M also has an excellent sequence of design/manufacturing courses in CoE, and a strong multi-disciplinary design minor in which students design, build and test various systems, Hu says. It has a history of working with K-12 children as well.

A number of partnerships with industry already exist at U-M, through its programs and major centers. To name just two: the GM/U-M Collaborative Research Lab in Advanced Vehicle Manufacturing, where significant research in battery and vehicle manufacturing was conducted; and the NSF Engineering Research Center for Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems, where faculty and students worked with industry in developing responsive manufacturing systems.

U-M and its partners in the University Research Corridor — Michigan State University and Wayne State University — already have done much to improve manufacturing in the state. All three universities have unique partnerships with automotive manufacturers, including the General Motors Collaborative Research Laboratories, Ford University of Michigan Alliance, and WSU’s TechTown.

In fiscal year 2009, the total value of active research awards on advanced manufacturing topics at URC universities was almost $425 million.

All three universities have engineering programs, collectively educating some 14,000 students.