The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has awarded TMAC at UT Arlington an $850,000 grant to improve the competitiveness of industries in an eight-state region by accelerating the transition of technology from research and development to efficient and affordable production.
TMAC, formerly the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center, is the Texas affiliate of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership. The University of Texas at Arlington holds the cooperative agreement with the National Institute of Standards and Technology to operate TMAC, a partnership that also includes The University of Texas at El Paso, The University of Texas - Pan American, the University of Houston, Texas Tech University, the Texas Engineering Extension Service of Texas A&M System and Southwest Research Institute.
“TMAC could receive up to $2.7 million during the next three years through the program,” TMAC Director Drew Casani said. He said subsequent funding is based on performance and availability of funds.
“We’ll use some of the funding to train the Manufacturing Extension Partnership staff in things like technology scouting and technology-driven market intelligence,” Casani said. “We’ll use these tools to work with companies to take their products to the marketplace.”
TMAC and UT Arlington are partners with the Arlington Chamber of Commerce and its new technology transfer arm called TechComM.
Ultimately, the Department of Defense and other federal agencies are expected to flow technology, patents and licenses through TechComm to appropriate universities, economic development groups and businesses who will form a network designed to commercialize that technology.
The backbone of the network will be a collaborative research database that would match technologies with the appropriate entities to commercialize the research from the federal labs and universities.
“In the first year of funding, we want to establish at least two partners in Texas and two in other states. A company in Texas would work with TMAC,” Casani said. TechComm represents an eight-state region. “A company, say in New Mexico, would work with that state’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership Center to get that product to market.”
TMAC also will:
- Establish an Asset Inventory Management tool to focus on MEP growth areas. This will become the informational framework for various collaborative databases.
- Work to include benefits of technology acceleration training, including technology scouting and technology-driven market intelligence to current businesses.
- Develop a methodology that connects MEPs with technology sources – including private, federal and university-based – and U.S. manufacturers.
The NIST funding is just part of a total of $9.1 million in cooperative agreements for 22 projects designed to enhance the productivity, technological performance and global competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers.
The projects were granted through competitive processes and will be implemented through a national system of more than 400 centers, field offices and partners. The funding will help encourage the creation and adoption of improved technologies and provide resources to develop new products that respond to changing market needs.
Founded in 1901, NIST is a nonregulatory agency of the Department of Commerce that promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology. The institute’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership is a leading resource for helping U.S. manufacturers use innovation to grow their profitability as they compete for customers in the global marketplace.
The University of Texas at Arlington is one of the state’s seven emerging research institutions and has nearly 33,000 students. Visit www.uta.edu for more information about the campus.
TMAC is housed at UT Arlington’s Automation & Robotics Research Institute. Visit http://www.tmac.org/ for more information about TMAC. Visit http://arri.uta.edu/index.html for more information about ARRI.
Visit http://www.thecenterforinnovation.org/techcomm for more information about TechComm.