Our Work

Leveraging Universities to Advance Manufacturing Innovation Through the MEP Network

About: Promoting a wide range of innovation from process improvements to state-of-the-art production is essential for manufacturers to meet new and future competitive demands. Small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) are particularly challenged to meet the ever-increasing technological demands of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) as part of the supply chain. The National Institutes of Standards and Technology established the Manufacturing Externship Partnership (MEP) Centers as federally-supported hubs for manufacturers, playing a vital role as intermediaries that help identify and meet manufacturing needs, linking them to the research and services that they need to innovate and grow. In response to MEP’s need for new strategies and plans that promote innovation, the Office of Economic Development and Community Engagement at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and its partners Innovation Associates (IA) and Jim Woodell & Company will:

  • Conduct a two-phase project to increase tech transition and innovation partnership linkages between MEPs, higher ed institutions, and small and medium-sized manufacturers.
  • The goal of the project is to identify programs that are effectively leveraging university research and development (R&D) through technology transfer, technical services and related skill development that effectively transition the R&D to SMMs to promote greater productivity and growth.
  • Through a two-phase initiative, APLU/IA will identify and promote the practices and tools that can leverage university-developed or co-developed technology, processes, and related skills development to assist manufacturers to compete in emerging industry markets.

APLU and Innovation Associates would like to thank NIST-MEP and the Foundation for Manufacturing Excellence for their partnership on this project.

Findings: View the report from Phase One here. See IndustryWeek op-ed covering the project here.

To share a model or learn more, please contact APLU’s Sheila Martin.

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