Strengthening America’s manufacturing base

U.S. Below Secretary of Protection for Analysis and Engineering Heidi Shyu serves because the Division of Protection’s chief expertise officer. In a current discuss at MIT, she spoke in regards to the DoD’s initiatives to construct a stronger U.S. manufacturing base and to sort out the nation’s “hardest challenges.”

President Biden nominated Shyu as below secretary in April 2021, and three months later she stepped into the function. She is accountable for supporting analysis, improvement, and prototyping throughout the DoD. 

In her discuss, which was a part of the Manufacturing@MIT Distinguished Speaker Sequence, she touched on many areas, together with funding startups “so good concepts don’t languish,” coaching a producing workforce, strengthening U.S. provide chains, making ready for local weather change, stopping mental property theft, supporting “leap-ahead” applied sciences, and rebuilding America’s semiconductor business.

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She described the just lately introduced DoD Workplace of Strategic Capital (OSC), which can present capital to assist modern corporations go from promising prototypes to scaled manufacturing, and can crew with DoD businesses and the non-public sector. By means of this method, she stated OSC will search to forestall promising prototypes from ending up in a “Valley of Dying” that lies between innovation and bringing new merchandise to market. She defined that the DoD needs to do extra to assist younger corporations jump-start their operations. “The federal government must embrace strategic public funding as a key instrument to reaching our full financial potential,” she stated.

The below secretary can be main a name for proposals for 9 microelectronics regional hubs throughout the US as a part of $2 billion in CHIPS Act funding that the DoD will distribute. She described the worth of connecting regional startups, bigger corporations, and universities to spur innovation: “We will likely be standing up a number of regional hubs that may leverage modern analysis from universities to assist develop the following technology of chips.”

Smaller companies and startups, Shyu stated, usually have no idea learn how to navigate the DoD. “I’m positive lots of you’ll develop novel concepts in your analysis right here and resolve to spin off a expertise right into a startup firm,” she stated. “So the way you do you hook up with the DoD? That’s a frightening job!” She stated she is set to assist repair this, by relaunching the positioning, so corporations and researchers discover the best contacts within the DoD. 

Shyu stated one other precedence was strengthening the U.S. workforce. As an illustration, this 12 months her workplace funded 482 Sensible Students, and plans to extend that quantity. Sensible Students obtain free college tuition. After they graduate, they then decide to working for the DoD for the variety of years the DoD lined their tuition. 

MIT has led quite a lot of workforce packages with the DoD’s Manufacturing Expertise Workplace, together with standing up the manufacturing careers platform MIT can be intently tied to the 9 DoD manufacturing innovation institutes that Shyu’s workplace oversees.

After the discuss, Shyu visited labs throughout campus. MIT Lincoln Laboratory’s Eric Evans and Bob Shin joined Below Secretary Shyu to listen to from Lisa Kelley, Joel Grimm, and Scott VanBroeken about scholar tasks at MIT Beaver Works and about Beaver Works’ summer season institute for highschool college students. Professor Vladimir Bulovic guided her via MIT.nano and described MIT’s fabrication and characterization capabilities. She additionally visited Professor Zack Cordero’s lab within the Division of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Professor Klav Jensen’s within the Division of Chemical Engineering, and Professor Chris Voigt’s lab within the Division of Organic Engineering — all of whom offered a variety of analysis packages that the DoD has supported.

The Manufacturing@MIT working group hosted Shyu’s go to as a part of its new Distinguished Speaker Sequence. The collection launched in Fall 2022, and its first speaker was Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf.


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