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UT has been selected to participate in the White House’s latest National Network for Manufacturing Innovation: the Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute.

SMII will be backed by $800 million in federal and nonfederal resources and will include nearly 200 partners from industry, federal research labs, academia, and state and local government across 30 states. The new institute will be led by the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition, based in Los Angeles, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy. Five regional manufacturing centers across the United States will focus on local technology transfer and workforce development.

North Carolina State University will lead the southeast hub, which aims to spur technological innovation to improve the efficiency of advanced manufacturing in the United States. UT will partner with NC State as part of the southeast hub.

SMII will work in the areas of advanced sensors and controls, data analytics, advanced predictive modeling and simulation software, and application tool kits that can dramatically reduce energy expenses in advanced manufacturing.

Taylor Eighmy

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with NC State and the Department of Energy on this initiative to create a more efficient advanced manufacturing process,” said Taylor Eighmy, UT’s vice chancellor for research and engagement. “SMII presents an opportunity for collaborations around innovative work our faculty are doing in regard to advanced computing, smart sensors and information technology.

“We look forward to our new collaborative efforts in the southeast. There is great synergy between this new NNMI and IACMI-the Composites Institute that we will maximize.”

The Southeast Region hub, led and hosted by North Carolina State, is charged with solving issues of rising energy and technology adoption costs and the lack of skilled workers in a geographic region where manufacturing growth has been particularly strong over the past few years. The hub will include a technical focus on the energy-intensive pulp and paper industries, carbon fiber, primary metals, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and other industries.

President Barack Obama announced the creation of SMII June 20 at the third annual SelectUSA Summit in Washington, D.C.

The five SMII regional hubs will focus on research and development of new technologies, workforce development initiatives and the development and creation of test beds.

The four other SMII regional hubs will be located at the University of California, Los Angeles; Texas A&M University; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

North Carolina State’s other Southeast Region partners include Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, Clemson University, the University of Louisville, Purdue University and Georgia Tech, as well as the Oak Ridge and Savannah River national laboratories and as many as 15 industry partners.

This is the ninth manufacturing hub awarded by the Obama administration and the fifth in which UT is involved. In January 2014, Obama announced UT as the lead institution for IACMI-The Composites Institute, a $259 million public-private partnership.

Read more from the White House fact sheet.

Read North Carolina State University’s press release.


Erin Chapin (, 865-974-2187)