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Indiana to Receive up to $15 Million for Composites Research

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Indiana will participate in a public-private partnership to expand research, development and job creation in composite material technology, with the U.S. Department of Energy’s selection today of a multistate group for a $70 million federal investment to support automotive, defense, aerospace, motorsports, advanced materials and energy-related sectors.

According to a news release, Indiana is to receive up to a $15 million matching federal investment as part of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, a multistate partnership to support regional research and development in U.S. advanced manufacturing.

“Composite materials are revolutionizing the manufacturing sector, especially in Indiana,” Indiana Secretary of Commerce Victor Smith said. “As the national leader in manufacturing job growth last year, Hoosiers were already well-positioned to take the lead in advancing this technology.”

The institute, which is backed by more than 90 manufacturing companies across the region, will operate as a public-private partnership, funded at $259 million over five years based on additional pledged commitments from industry, universities and the six partner states.

Purdue University, which has supported Indiana’s bid for this federal investment, will launch the Design, Modeling and Simulation Enabling Technology Center, one of five major research centers created as part of the initiative.

This center will focus on knowledge-transfer efforts, which will increase the affordability of composite manufacturing while also introducing more time for innovation into the manufacturing supply chain.

Through shared research and development infrastructure and capabilities, the partnership will enable demonstration of advanced composite materials technologies to grow and attract further manufacturing investments.

“The advanced composite market is poised for dramatic growth,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. “This important public-private partnership has a strong research, development and deployment mission, establishing a major sector of our manufacturing economy focused on advancing the use of composite materials such as carbon fiber to make lighter-weight cars, wind turbines, natural gas storage tanks and other products.”

Composite materials are formed by blending different structural compounds together to create a better product, for example replacing metals on cars and airplanes with lighter, stronger and more energy-efficient composites.

Major advancements in this rapidly growing field have in part enabled companies in Indiana to create high-paying jobs and world leading technology, including Dallara IndyCar Factory in Speedway, IDI Composites International in Noblesville, Toyota Indiana in Princeton, SABIC Innovative Plastics in Mount Vernon, Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, LLC in Greensburg and hundreds of other suppliers and manufacturers statewide.

When combined with matching federal and industry funds, the state’s $15 million investment will be leveraged by a ratio of at least 2-to-1. All pledged state dollars will stay within Indiana.

Funds will be distributed according to the guidelines and procedures associated with the state’s 21st Century Fund. Guidelines will also follow procedures developed for the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation and the broader National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. Additional information relating to the public-private partnership and technical themes will be available in the coming months.

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