RIT-led consortium wins $70M in funding for clean energy institute

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Source: Rochester Business Journal

A Rochester Institute of Technology-led consortium has won a nationwide competition and secured $70 million in federal funding to bring a public-private clean energy manufacturing institute here, officials announced Tuesday.

The competition was held by the U.S. Department of Energy. The consortium will match the federal award of $70 million for a total investment of $140 million, officials said. The RIT-led consortium includes Xerox Corp. and Caterpillar Inc.

The consortium is known as the Sustainable Manufacturing Innovation Alliance and consists of over 100 research universities, national laboratories and industrial partners. The institute is to include new test bed facilities and is anticipated to allow RIT to add some 50 technical jobs to the local economy.  

The project aims to increase sales for the U.S. manufacturing industry by 50 percent, to $21.5 billion, while also creating a next-generation recycling and manufacturing workforce in New York and nationwide, officials said.

“I couldn’t be more proud to bring a second manufacturing institute to Rochester,” said Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Perinton, in a statement. “This new institute will strengthen our economy, create jobs and build on our reputation as a global leader in manufacturing innovation.

“It is a major win for our community and a testament to the strong proposal developed by this alliance of over one hundred world-class research universities, national labs, and industry partners.”

The local team faced competition from nationwide proposals. The consortium called on Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz directly to advocate for Rochester’s potential.

“RIT has been leading the way in revolutionizing our manufacturing sector for years and there is no one better suited to host this new remade site,” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. “This project has the power to bring a wealth of resources to the region and help get American manufacturing moving again.”

The proposals were submitted in September under the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation program to create a new Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute, officials said. The program invests federal resources together with private and non-federal funds to support the country’s advanced manufacturing capabilities through creating an initial network of up to 15 new institutes, officials said. It is now known as Manufacturing USA.

“This funding is outstanding news for the Rochester Institute of Technology and the high-tech manufacturing industry in New York,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. “Rochester Institute of Technology is already at the cutting edge of our nation’s clean energy research and is also a major source of talent for jobs in our state, and these funds will help ensure that the university stays in this strong position for years to come.”

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