The U.S. Department of Defense and several public-private partnerships are coming together to offer fellowships in support of innovators who will apply robotics in manufacturing to benefit the Pittsburgh-West Virginia area. The Advanced Robotics in Manufacturing, or ARM, Institute this week opened applications for its fellowship program in support of the AIM Higher Consortium.
Artificial Intelligence in Metals and Manufacturing (AIM) Higher is led by Catalyst Connection with more 30 academic, economic development, technology institute, and manufacturing partners from around the region.
The program is funded by the Department of Defense Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation (DoD-OLDCC, previously the Office of Economic Adjustment). The AIM Higher Consortium will directly support the office’s mission to enhance the readiness, resiliency, and innovation of the national defense manufacturing supply chain.
This is a regional effort, so the fellow’s organization must have a physical presence within the Pittsburgh-West Virginia OEA. More information can be found in the formal request for proposals (RFP, see below).
ARM Institute seeks passionate, hands-on fellows
The ARM Institute said its fellows are experts who “have a passion for addressing the challenges that hinder the adoption of robotics for manufacturers, large and small. ARM Institute Fellows apply innovative solutions to make a tangible impact on manufacturing activities during their designated project period.”
The ARM Institute fellowship program is hands-on and requires a project submission piece. ARM Institute fellow will work closely with the institute’s project management office to execute a robotics and AI-focused project funded by this award. The fellow will provide briefings on progress and results to the ARM membership, AIM Higher Consortium, DoD partners, and other industry leaders.
The selected fellows will aid in executing the goals of the AIM consortium, whose partners work to boost the regional and national defense industries in several ways over the five-year project period. This strategy includes:
- Establishing anchor sites for defense manufacturing collaboration and assistance
- Conducting a research and innovation alliance
- Filling gaps and boosting connections in the defense industries supply chain
- Enhancing and integrating workforce training and education, providing technical assistance and support to small defense industry manufacturers
- Building the defense manufacturing ecosystem with convenings and communications.
The AIM Consortium said it wants to ensure that the U.S. “is unrivaled in military readiness and defense manufacturing capabilities through an industrial production ecosystem that melds advanced metals and materials with Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies of artificial intelligence, additive manufacturing, and robotics. This is being built in the Greater Pittsburgh-West Virginia-Youngstown region that forged the arsenal of democracy.”
As a member of the AIM Higher Consortium, the ARM Institute is looking to award honorary fellowships to execute projects aligned with both ARM's and the AIM Higher Consortium’s goals. This includes advanced manufacturing projects for industries such as aerospace, automotive, space, and general manufacturing.
For instance, the ARM Institute last week announced the Henry L. Hillman Foundation Grant of $200,000 for robotics educational programs in Western Pennsylvania.
This application is for the ARM Institute's second round of fellow selections. In May, it named Dr. Jared Glover from CapSen Robotics as its first fellow.
Applications are due at 5:00 EST on Dec. 3, 2021. All information must be submitted via the email to the firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ARM Institute will fund multiple fellows throughout the course of the AIM Higher Consortium agreement, which ends in September of 2023. The institute has identified the following criteria and guidelines for submission:
- Winning fellows will be expected to propose full-time projects for periods of up to 1 year.
- ARM will award up to $60,000 per fellow. Funds cannot be used to purchase equipment.
- In-kind cost-share is not required but may be contributed and is encouraged.
- The fellowship is an individual award. The winning fellow must be an individual employed by a legal entity. All contracting will be between ARM and the fellow’s organization. Teaming is not permitted.
- The RFP is open to both ARM members and non-members. If the winning fellow is from an organization that is not an ARM member, a one-year Silver Membership will also be awarded to the fellow’s organization. Membership credit will not be issued if the fellow’s organization is currently an ARM Member.
- The fellow’s organization must have a physical presence located within the Pittsburgh-West Virginia OEA. The output of the fellow’s project must make an impact in this area. See footnote1 for further clarification.
- The proposal topic should be focused on advancing manufacturing technology through the application of robotics and AI.
- The proposal topic must be one that bolsters the needs of the DoD industrial supply base. This could be accomplished, for example, through a fellow employed by a DoD partner, or by working on a project with clear DoD Industrial base applications.
- Further development of ARM-funded Consortium Developed Intellectual Property (CDIP) is highly encouraged. Please see the ARM projects funded through the ARM Community projects page (ARM members) or the ARM webpage (non-members) for existing CDIP information.
- ALL CDIP developed by the winning fellow will be subject to the same CDIP terms as typical ARM technology projects and as outlined in the ARM membership agreement.
The ARM Institute provided the following links to resources:
Fellowship award details
The ARM Institute will award up to $60,000 per fellow. The fellowship is an individual award. The winning fellow must be an individual employed by a legal entity.
The winning fellow will be encouraged to perform project development in the Mill19 ecosystem space in Pittsburgh. The robotic workcell and administrative area includes 12' x 12' (3.65 x 3.65 m) minimum floor space, 120v/208v/480v power, and air and water service.
High-bay floor space will be available for the winning fellow to bring in their own robotics and equipment. The possibility exists for ARM to obtain robotics equipment for the fellow. However, due to the logistics of this request, it should not be relied on. Requested robotics equipment should not be considered available any earlier than June 2022 for purposes of proposal submission and planning.
Fellows will also have access to all ARM Project CDIP as an ARM member, as well as to manufacturing, robotics, and AI expertise through the ARM membership network (if not already a member).
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