Obama calls for N.C. mfg. innovation institute

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(Official White House photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama

RALEIGH, N.C. (Jan. 16, 2014) — President Barack Obama has announced plans to create a $140 million public-private partnership institute to lead manufacturing innovation in next-generation power electronics.

A consortium of 18 North Carolina businesses and six North Carolina universities, led by North Carolina State University in Raleigh, will run the activities of the institute, Mr. Obama said in a Jan. 15 speech at North Carolina State University.

This is the first of three manufacturing institutes the president proposed in his State of the Union address in January 2013, the White House said in a press release. The institutes were envisioned as regional hubs designed to bridge the gap between applied research and product development, providing collaboration between industry and academia.

The president launched a competition for the first manufacturing institute in May 2013, with a federal commitment of $200 million, the White House said. Winners of the other two competitions will be announced in coming weeks, it said.

"The mission of the Next Generation Power Electronic Institute is to develop advanced manufacturing processes that will enable large-scale production of wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductors, which allow electronic components to be smaller, faster and more efficient than semiconductors made from silicon," North Carolina State said in a statement on its website.

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