As American manufacturing continues its slow recovery from the Great Recession, improved competitiveness and innovation need to remain strong federal priorities. It’s therefore heartening to note that the President’s FY 2016 budget request illustrates the administration’s belief in the power of public/private research partnerships to restore American industry’s competitive edge in advanced industries.The budget contains several cost-effective proposals to improve technology transfer among universities, public and private research labs, and companies bringing innovations to global markets. Congress would be wise to give those programs and investments serious consideration this Spring.First and foremost is the President’s call for a significant expansion of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), a unique public-private-university partnership designed to bridge the gap between basic research performed at U.S. universities and research laboratories and product development and commercialization by U.S. manufacturers.The network consists of manufacturing innovation centers, tied with American research universities in regions with significant existing capacity in targeted industries. Currently five centers are operating—focused on additive manufacturing, next-generation power electronics, digital manufacturing and design innovation, lightweight and modern metals manufacturing, and advanced polymer composites—and at least four more are in the planning stages—including ones focused on photonics, smart manufacturing, and flexible hybrid electronics manufacturing.

via Innovation Needs to be a Central Focus of the Federal Budget | Innovation content from IndustryWeek.