YSU plays lead role in new national innovation institute

White House National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling speaks at an event at M-7 Technologies announcing that Youngstown has been chosen the site for a major federal institute for manufacturing innovation.

The decision to award and locate a major federal institute for manufacturing innovation in the Mahoning Valley is yet another indication of Youngstown State University’s emergence as an important urban research university, YSU officials said.

“Youngstown State University is proud of our leading role, in coordination with others across the region, to bring this important project to the Mahoning Valley,” YSU President Cynthia E. Anderson said. “Working hand-in-hand with business and industry, YSU has positioned itself as an increasingly significant and successful center of research and education excellence. Our involvement in this project is yet another indication of our evolution into a research institution on the grow.”

The Obama administration announced Thursday that Youngstown has been chosen as the site for the National Network for Manufacturing Initiative’s Pilot Institute for Manufacturing Innovation. The name of the Pilot Institute is the TechBelt National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. YSU is among nine research universities, including Carnegie Mellon and Case Western Reserve, involved in the project, along with 40 companies, five community colleges and 11 non-profit organizations.

Martin Abraham, dean of the YSU College of Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics, said YSU is pleased to partner with major research universities within the Cleveland-Youngstown-Pittsburgh TechBelt to bring the Pilot Institute to Youngstown.

“YSU’s focus on applied research programs, our strong connection with area businesses, and the quality of our student body and especially our graduates, has made us a desired research partner for major initiatives such as this,” he said “We expect that this program will establish YSU as the leading destination for students interested in careers in additive manufacturing and will place Youngstown squarely at the forefront of education, training and research in advanced manufacturing.”

Darrell Wallace, YSU director of Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Initiatives and associate professor of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, said the Institute is an opportunity for YSU to directly participate as a leader on this project and to work closely with top-notch collaborators, including some of the leading research universities in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

“By successfully competing against proposals submitted from teams across the country, the TechBelt team has been given the honor of leading the first wave of a new national effort to enhance America’s manufacturing competitiveness,” Wallace said. “Here in Youngstown, with our rich manufacturing heritage, it is fitting that we begin the next chapter of the story of modern manufacturing.”

Wallace said the focus of the center is “additive manufacturing.” Additive manufacturing creates parts by building up material rather than removing material. These processes have the potential to eliminate tooling costs, reduce material waste, and to create complex components that are impossible to produce by conventional manufacturing processes. Wallace said additive manufacturing processes are becoming increasingly important for defense, aerospace and biomedical applications. The Pilot Institute will become the go-to resource for expertise in additive manufacturing and will become a resource for corporations at all levels of those critical manufacturing segments, he said.

“YSU students and faculty will benefit tremendously from our direct involvement in the center and our close physical location to its resources,” he added. “Opportunities for collaboration will include materials research, equipment design and economic development. Faculty from YSU will also play a significant role in developing a national network of education and workforce development programs focused on additive manufacturing.”

About Youngstown State University
Youngstown State University is a comprehensive emerging urban research university that offers over 14,000 students more than 135 undergraduate and graduate programs backed by a strong tradition of teaching, scholarship and public service. As a major educational and economic development resource in the region, YSU is known for its focus on academic research and creative programs that transform its students into successful professionals, scholars and leaders. Located in the heart of the Tech Belt between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, YSU provides opportunities for students to actively participate with accomplished faculty, often in one-on-one settings, on advanced research and creative collaborations. The beautiful 145-acre campus includes high-tech classrooms, state-of-the-art labs and performance facilities, a variety of on-campus housing options and recreational facilities among the best in the nation.