The U.S. Department of Defense announce today that it has awarded $75 million to the FlexTech Alliance to set up a Manufacturing Innovation Institute for flexible electronics. The money is being matched by another $96 million from San Jose and many partners: 96 companies, 11 labs and non-profits, 42 universities, and 14 states and regional organizations.
FlexTech said that although the Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute (FHE MII, because everything defense-related needs an abbreviation) will be based in San Jose, much of the project work will be done at member institutions, awarded via competitive bids. (Disclosure: Center Ring Media has been a media partner with FlexTech on several of its conferences.) The work will not necessarily be defense-related, and will include industries including automotive, communications, consumer electronics, medtech, transportation and logistics, and agriculture. The institute will focus on building a domestic R&D infrastructure for building flexible electronics for applications including wearable electronics, health tech, and the Internet of Things.
The FHE MII is the seventh MII established by the Defense Department and is the first based on the West Coast. Others involve 3D printing, photonics, advanced textiles, semiconductors, lightweight metals, clean energy, and digital manufacturing. The programs are managed by the DoD’s Manufacturing Technology Program Office (known, apparently, as ManTech).
Venturebeat’s got a good story about this, too, with more political color.