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UB picked for national advanced manufacturing hub

The University at Buffalo is one of about 200 colleges and universities, companies and nonprofit organizations selected by the Obama administration to form an advanced manufacturing network intended to revive and sustain the nation’s manufacturing sector.

The consortium of organizations from more than 30 states, known as the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition, will work with the U.S. Department of Energy to operate the Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute, or SMII.

The White House announced the institute will bring more than $140 million in public-private investment. It is the ninth manufacturing hub awarded by the Obama administration and is meant to boost improvements in smart sensors and digital process controls.

SMII is headquartered in Los Angeles and includes five manufacturing centers, each focusing on regional technology transfer and workforce development, UB said in a statement.

UB will participate in the Northeast Regional Manufacturing Center, which is led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The center’s industrial partners include Praxair, Corning and Saint-Gobain and its other academic partners include Rochester Institute of Technology, Rutgers University and Syracuse University.

UB said it already has a number of research programs and partnerships with industry that seek to produce innovations in advanced manufacturing that can benefit the economy.

The university, for example, is a partner in Buffalo Manufacturing Works, a facility on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus funded through the Buffalo Billion program that offers cutting-edge research-and-development services to companies. BMW, and a handful of other UB-aligned research centers, will support the advanced manufacturing network collaboration.