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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

US$ 377 million in Next-Generation Robotics and Manufacturing Research

US President Barack Obama has unveiled his 2012 budget, describing the proposal as a "down payment" on future cuts to the US budget deficit.
Of the $148 billion for R&D $ 377 million are aimed to "lay the groundwork for the Industries and Jobs of the Future and a Renaissance in American Manufacturing". The Administration proposes specifically $30 million in next generation robotics, $35 million for a nanotechnology manufacturing initiative, and $96 million for an interdisciplinary program aimed at eventually replacing current computer chip technologies.

$ 30 million National Robotics Initiative (NRI)
NSF will work with NASA, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide U.S. leadership in science and engineering research and education aimed at the development of next-generation robots that that work alongside, or even cooperatively, with people. These robots could participate in manufacturing, space and undersea exploration, healthcare and rehabilitation, military and homeland surveillance and security, education and training, and safe driving.

All three of these initiatives involve multiple agencies and critical partnerships with the private sector. The Administration also proposes an additional $87 million in advanced manufacturing activities, including expanded university-industry research partnerships and regional innovation ecosystems, clean energy manufacturing research, and new research at the intersection of biology, the physical sciences, and engineering. The Administration also proposes $117 million for “cyberinfrastructure” activities that will accelerate the pace of discovery in all research disciplines, and $12 million for a new program that will fund a suite of activities that promote greater interdisciplinary research.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is the key Federal grant-making agency responsible for supporting the full breadth of non-biomedical science and technology research at the Nation’s universities and colleges.  NSF accounts for approximately 20 percent of all federally-supported basic research conducted by academic institutions, and for approximately 40 percent of federally-supported non-biomedical university basic research.

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