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Congressman Jim McGovern Applauds $317 Million New Massachusetts Advanced Manufacturing Institute

New Institute Includes UMass Amherst, Quinsigamond Community College

Congressman Jim McGovern applauded last week’s announcement that Massachusetts has been selected by the Department of Defense to host a $317 million public-private research partnership called the Revolutionary Fiber and Textile Manufacturing Innovation Institute.

The Institute will be based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with participation from UMass Amherst, Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester
, and a total of 89 manufacturers, universities, and non-profits.

“Massachusetts has long been a leader in innovation, and this public-private partnership will continue that tradition. Powering the 21st century economy starts with strong investments in the technology of tomorrow and this will ensure that Massachusetts continues to be on the front lines, as we write the next chapter in fiber science,” Congressman McGovern said. “I am proud that UMass Amherst and Quinsigamond Community College will be part of this exciting manufacturing partnership. I thank Secretary Carter for recognizing the incredible work of our Massachusetts schools and look forward to all we will achieve through this partnership.”

UMass Amherst will be committing $1 million to the initiative and will focus on research in polymer science and engineering, electrical and computer engineering and computer science. UMass Amherst projects in the initiative will include fiber-integrated sensors, energy generation and storage systems, thermal camouflage and other areas. Quinsigamond Community College will support the education and training of a skilled workers in advanced textiles manufacturing.

“We look forward to accelerating the fiber and textile manufacturing workforce in the US, and across Massachusetts,” Dr. Gail Carberry, QCC President stated. QCC will help develop a national community college network and co-develop industry recognized curriculum modules for accelerated, stackable certificates based on local fiber and textile industry demands to crate career pathways through 2-year colleges and beyond. “This Advanced Manufacturing Institute allows us to leverage the significant State and industry investment for QCC’s Innovative Technology Acceleration Center (ITAC) in Southbridge,” Dr. Carberry added.

The institute will bring together nontraditional partners to integrate fibers and yarns with integrated circuits, LEDs, solar cells, and other capabilities to create textiles and fabrics that can see, hear, sense, communicate, store energy, regulate temperature, monitor health, change color, and more.

For example, the institute will pair the likes of leading audio equipment maker Bose, computer chip maker Intel, and nanofiber manufacturer FibeRio with textile manufacturers and textile users like Warwick Mills, Buhler Yarns, and New Balance. In doing so, the institute will accelerate technology transfer to enable revolutionary defense and commercial applications such as shelters with power generation and storage capacity built into the fabric, ultra-efficient, energy-saving filters for vehicles, and uniforms that can regulate temperature and detect threats like chemical and radioactive elements in order to warn warfighters and first responders. The combination of novel properties such as exceptional strength, flame resistance, reduced weight and electrical conductivity through this institute will lead to significant advancements in this industry.