President Obama announced on Dec. 11 that the government will invest more than $290 million in public-private investment for two new Manufacturing Innovation Hub Competitions.

One will be in smart manufacturing at the Department of Energy and one in flexible hybrid electronics at the Department of Defense. Each institute will receive $70 million or more of federal investment to be matched by at least $70 million from the private sector for a total of more than $290 million in new investment.

The Department of Energy will lead a competition for a new public-private manufacturing innovation institute focused on smart manufacturing, including advanced sensors, control, platforms and models for manufacturing. 

The goal of this hub is to “give American manufacturers unprecedented, real-time control of energy use across factories and companies to increase productivity and save on energy costs.”

The statement cited  energy intensive industries – such as chemical production, solar cell manufacturing, and steelmaking –  where new technologies could reduce the cost of production by 10%-20%.

The new institute will receive a federal investment of $70 million that will be matched by at least $70 million in private investments and represents a critical step in the Administration’s effort to double U.S. energy efficiency by 2030.

The Department of Defense will lead a competition for a new public-private manufacturing innovation institute in flexible hybrid electronics, combining $75 million of federal investment with $75 million or more of private investment.

Products that will be affected include wireless medical monitors, stretchable electronics for robotics and vehicles, and smart bridges capable of alerting engineers at the first signs of trouble.

With regard to military application, intelligent bandages and smart clothing will alert soldiers to first signs of injury or exhaustion; structural integrity sensors will offer real-time damage assessment for helicopters or aircraft after engagement; and small, unattended sensors will give soldiers greater situational awareness.

These investments are part of the President’s 2014 State of the Union pledge to launch  four new institutes this year, for a total of eight institutes launched so faron an original goal of creating 15 manufacturing innovation institutes.