Obama Administration Awards $2 Million to Support 21st Century Manufacturing in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan through Public-Private Partnership


WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today applauded the creation of a new public-private sector partnership that will provide funding for Ohio institutions to develop high-tech computing to be used in 21st century manufacturing process. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez announced today that the Obama Administration would award $2 million to the Council on Competitiveness, which includes Ohio partners the Ohio Supercomputing Center, the Ohio Board of Regents, and Proctor & Gamble to develop the Midwest Project for Modeling and Simulation. The project will be used to bring high-performance computing to advanced manufacturers, including small- and medium-sized manufacturers (SMEs.)

The MMSP is a national program modeled on an award Brown announced last summer from the National Institute of Standards and Technology/Manufacturing Extension Partnership to the Ohio Supercomputer Center and Polymer Ohio. In December 2010, Brown sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke expressing support for the efforts of the Council on Competitiveness to work alongside the Administration to develop high-tech computing for manufacturers.

“Blue-collar computing—bringing advanced computing to more small- and medium-sized manufacturers—will help revitalize American manufacturing,” Brown said. “Today’s announcement means that Ohio institutions will develop high- performance computing that will enable Ohio manufacturers to be competitive in a 21st-century economy.”

“This initiative is a perfect example of industry and academic organizations working together to directly address the technical barriers, costs and training necessary to effectively use advanced technologies in manufacturing," said Ashok Krishnamurthy, interim co-executive director at OSC. "By leveraging each other’s strengths, we can create an advanced manufacturing supply chain that uses modeling and simulation tools to greatly increase American competitiveness.” 

“Large manufacturing companies are obtaining significant increases in productivity through the use of modeling and simulation applications that are not generally affordable by small-and mid-sized companies (SMEs).  The global competitiveness and growth of SMEs and the manufacturing sector will be enhanced when these software become available through this public-private partnership,” said Richard Markham, Vice President of PolymerOhio.  “PolymerOhio and the Ohio Supercomputer Center are partners in a project funded by the Manufacturing Extension Partnership/NIST to provide modeling and simulation applications as well as training in their use to SMEs through the Polymer Portal at an affordable cost.  This is an important complementary approach to this public-private partnership funded through the EDA.”

“P&G has been using high performance computers (HPC) and the highly accurate computer simulations they make possible for nearly three decades. From ‘the atoms to the enterprise,’ HPC and modeling and simulation are critical to better products, less waste, faster-to-market initiatives, and more competitive manufacturing.  P&G is able to replace slow and expensive learning that once relied on full-scale testing with more digital computer models and simulation.  Now, we’re able to bring some of our multi-decade experience to small and mid-sized enterprises, beginning with our supply chain partners in the Midwest,” said Tom Lange, Director of Modeling and Simulation, Research and Development, and Bruce Brown, Chief Technology Officer, both of Proctor & Gamble.

According to the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), the federal government will award $2 million for a public-private initiative that will use collaboration and technology to advance America’s competitiveness in the global marketplace, increase productivity, and promote technological advancement throughout the OEM supply chain. Private-sector investment is an additional $2.5 million, bringing the total funding for the initiative to $4.5 million. Through this investment, small and mid-sized enterprises will receive valuable technical assistance related to the use of computer-based modeling, simulation and analysis, setting the stage for them to be more competitive and create more jobs in the manufacturing industry.

In October 2010, Brown visited the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) to announce $355,000 in new funds for OSC and PolymerOhio, Inc. from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Brown was joined by Wayne Earley, president and CEO of PolymerOhio, Steve Gordon, Co-Executive Director of the Ohio Supercomputer Center, Carol Whitacre, Vice President of Research at The Ohio State University, and Ann O’Beay, Chief Technology Officer at the Ohio Board of Regents.

Brown has introduced a package of key legislative proposals aimed at bolstering the competiveness of U.S. manufacturers. He is the author of the Investments for Manufacturing Progress and Clean Technology (IMPACT) Act, legislation that would help small to medium-sized manufacturers become more energy-efficient or transition to the clean energy supply chain. Brown also authored the  Trade Enforcement Priorities Act, legislation that would give the federal government more authority to address trade barriers that undermine American workers and manufacturing. This includes the reinstatement of Super 301 authority, which provides support to the U.S. Trade Representative to combat export barriers. Finally, Brown is a coauthor of the Security in Energy and Manufacturing (SEAM) Act, legislation that would expand and improve the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit (48C) program.