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Iowa universities to take part in $320 million manufacturing partnership

Iowa public universities

All three of Iowa’s regent universities will take part in a multi-million dollar advanced manufacturing consortium that aims to research ways to improve the nation’s manufacturing machines and factories.

The idea behind the partnership is to create a hub of companies, universities and other organizations who will work to create new ways for manufacturers to digitally design parts and machines, enabling them to get products to market faster.

President Barack Obama announced the consortium today along with a $70 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to support the creation of the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute. In addition to the grant from the Defense Department, the consortium’s various partners have pledged an additional $250 million for the lab.

The consortium will be headquartered in Chicago and includes 73 members.

The partnership is made up of 41 businesses, including Cedar Rapids-based Rockwell Collins,  23 universities, including Iowa State, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa, and nine other organizations.

In a statement, Iowa State said it will be a tier 1 partner in the Digital Lab for Manufacturing, another name for the institute. The university said it will be a “tier 1″ partner in the lab, which will focus on research in three manufacturing fields: advanced analysis, intelligent machining and advanced manufacturing enterprise.

“This is public-private partnership on a grand scale; one capable of providing the significant resources and talents to advance research, effect change for manufacturers large and small, and prepare the next generation for the multi-faceted demands for a new type of workforce,” said Janis Terpenny, director of ISU Center for e-Design, in a statement.

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