National Nanotechnology Manufacturing Center
The National Nanotechnology Manufacturing Center is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the development of a robust, sustainable, domestic nanomanufacturing infrastructure by leveraging existing manufacturing capabilities and supporting the creation of new capabilities when necessary. The Center pursues commercial as well as government projects, especially those in support of the warfighter and National Security.
The Center uses the implementation of these projects to enhance economic development of rural America.
The Center is organized exclusively for charitable, educational, scientific, and literary purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
Nationally recognized as the valued resource for the commercialization and manufacture of nanotechnology, and development of industry standards and workplace safety procedures, creating an economic development model for other rural areas.
The NNMC serves a multipurpose mission, the individual parts of which are interlinked. The primary missions of the Center are to:
- Advance nanotechnology-enabled devices and materials to a manufacturable state
- Engage in dual-use projects with the government which enhance the Warfighter and National Security abilities
- Promote the commercial aspects of these projects in a sustainable manner
- Create jobs and businesses (economic development) in rural America
The interlinking missions of the Center: It is an economic development tool, military/government contractor, work force and safety training developer while also promoting new and existing business. Each block is dependent on the other and vital to the success of the Center.
The Center is working with the Army to develop innovative solutions to their needs and gaps. This creates opportunities for private industry to develop these solutions and just as importantly, to create a sustainable environment for the government's investment.
In turn, opportunities for businesses to start up, expand or diversify are presented. By commercializing the newly developed innovation or process, the government leverages its funding through this economic endeavor. The commercial side also expands the businesses' customer base, raising production and lowering costs.
The Center created the Nano Valley Consortium (NVC) as a group of organizations (industry and academic) that can work together on these projects. The use of a consortium model helps to mitigate the risks of new development. The government is not relying on an individual company (expertise, resources, etc) and the individual organizations can focus on their core strengths while building a complex whole.
The Center sought and was awarded an "Other Transaction Agreement" (OTA) with the Army which is specifically intended to assist in this mission. OTA's are intended for prototype work and to encourage non-traditional contractors to be involved. OTA's allow for government contracts to be more "business friendly" and so allow the Center to get smaller yet talented companies to participate. It also encourages larger companies to work with smaller ones enabling a stronger domestic technology base.
The Center is funded through consortium membership dues, participating in projects, and with fees charged for the responsibilities it has under the OTA. The Center is the sole point of contact between the government and consortium members. The Center is not directly funded by tax payer monies.
The Center will continue to expand as the government projects lead to the commercialization efforts. These efforts will further fund the Center and lead to a larger involvement with Warfighter and National Security projects. As a non-profit entity, all profits are reinvested with the Center and its mission.
This model for the Center is intended to bring technological advances to our Warfighters and economic security to our rural areas using innovations in nanotechnology.
"Economic development refers to social and technological progress. It implies a change in the way goods and services are produced, not merely an increase in production achieved using the old methods of production on a wider scale." ~ Wikipedia
The Center was developed as a response to the severe lack of production facilities for manufacturing new nanotechnology-enabled products for the marketplace. The Center has developed programs that will benefit local residents previously unable to compete for jobs in rural areas. The primary objective of the program is to create job opportunities in the community.
While the Center will create many "high-tech" jobs, it will undoubtedly create an abundance of manufacturing jobs for individuals who are poverty stricken, poor, and/or unemployed. In order to reach that goal, the Center first has to accomplish several tasks. First, it must strengthen manufacturing by developing a database to assist industry in identifying supply-chain partners and manufacturing facilities.
To aid in this objective, the Center intends to have a business incubator to help companies bring new nano-products to market, as well as nano-manufacturing equipment for these companies to prototype and test scale-up manufacturing. Through observation of companies developing new products, the Center will learn what nano-specific workers will be needed as the industry matures. We have already developed relationships with local colleges and universities.
Once this objective is met, the organization must then work to provide educational and workforce development programs aimed at providing the knowledge and opportunity necessary for disadvantaged groups (i.e. minorities, unemployed, or underemployed) to qualify for employment in nano-manufacturing.