Potential NSF investment of $52 million over 10 years funds convergent research, workforce development.

News about funding for an advanced manufacturing research center.

The Ohio State University will lead a multi-institutional engineering research center to develop and deploy revolutionary, intelligent autonomous manufacturing systems and educate a future manufacturing workforce. The center will create approaches central to next-generation manufacturing to create jobs, train a diverse workforce and ease supply chain issues by growing a new American industry.

The National Science Foundation announced funding for the Hybrid Autonomous Manufacturing, Moving from Evolution to Revolution (HAMMER) Engineering Research Center, for five years at $26 million with the ability to renew for another $26 million for an additional five years. If fully realized, it will be one of the largest research investments in the last decade for Ohio State.

Ohio State will partner with Case Western Reserve University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Northwestern University and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville along with more than 70 industry, educational and technical organization collaborators to develop and implement new manufacturing technologies for agile, high-performance and high-quality components.

Glenn Daehn, the Mars G. Fontana Professor of Metallurgical Engineering, will serve as the director of the center.

Through basic, applied and translational research, HAMMER will accelerate the development and deployment of intelligent autonomous manufacturing systems that will use multiple processes to control material properties and component dimensions to allow rapid customization. These systems will learn from each operation, improving themselves over time.

In addition to the collaboration with the four partner universities, HAMMER will include convergent research across colleges at Ohio State. The College of Arts and Sciences, College of Medicine and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs join the College of Engineering in supporting the new engineering research center.

The NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC) program supports convergent research, education and technology translation at U.S. universities to lead to strong societal impacts.

Each ERC has interacting foundational components that go beyond the research project, including engineering workforce development at all stages, a culture of diversity and inclusion where all participants gain mutual benefit and value creation within an innovation ecosystem that will outlast the lifetime of the ERC.

Since the program’s start in 1985, NSF has funded 75 ERCs throughout the United States. NSF supports each center for up to 10 years. This investment has led to many successes, including:

  • More than 240 spinoff companies
  • More than 900 patents
  • More than 14,400 total bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees to ERC students
  • Numerous research outcomes enabling new technologies
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