THE JOINT BIOENERGY INSTITUTE
The Joint Bioenergy Institute (JBEI; https://www.jbei.org/) at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley), is a partnership led by four national laboratories (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories) and three academic research partners (UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and the Carnegie Institution for Science). They receive $25 million a year from the Department of Energy (DOE) as one of three DOE bioenergy research centers. They were founded in 2007 and subsequently renewed in 2012. The main leadership includes Jay Keasling (chief executive officer), Nick Everson (chief operating officer), and Blake Simmons (chief scientific and technology officer).
JBEI’s mission is to provide the scientific basis for converting lignocellulosic biomass into renewable, drop-in, liquid transportation fuels, as well as the production of renewable chemicals that enable a thriving U.S. bioeconomy. JBEI is focused on creating a future where cellulosic biofuels can provide transformative advantages for the United States. This mission is supported by a selection of core values that include advancing basic science for public benefit, reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, reducing organic waste by transforming nonedible biomass—such as corn stover and wheat straw—into biofuels, and keeping the United States at the vanguard of scientific discovery by providing educational experiences for students and teachers and developing future generations of scientists. Their research areas span basic research in cell wall structure and functions, engineering of microbes for the production of advanced (“drop-in”) biofuels and renewable chemicals, ionic liquid deconstruction of lignocellulose into targeted intermediates, and developing and engineering an industrially relevant conversion technology for scalable and affordable biofuel production—this puts them between technology readiness levels (TRLs) 1-5, with a heavy emphasis on technology feasibility and development, with targeted activities in scale-up.
Their evidence of impact lies in the vast amounts of research and technology that is available for collaboration and licensing—from biomass to feedstocks, deconstruction, fuel synthesis, and technologies and software. Over the span of their lifetime they have 608 publications, with more than 50 percent cross-divisional and more than 25 percent involving external collaborators. They also have more than 18,000 total citations, averaging around 27 citations per paper. Lastly, their efforts have launched 5 startups: Afingen, Evodia, Illium Technologies, Lygos, and TeselaGen Biotechnology. Their educational impact is also palpable, with 50 undergraduates trained every year in addition to summer programs for high school students. They provide biofuel educational materials for K-16 and routinely host educational visits that include tours, hands-on science, seminars, and career exploration activities.
JBEI has an Industry Advisory Committee that consists of Agilent Technologies, Amyris, Boeing, BP, Ceres, DuPont, FuturaGene, General Motors, Genomatica, Monsanto, Novozymes, Pacific Ethanol, POET, Proionic, and TOTAL. These companies work together with the research staff to push technology into more integrated systems, as well as advising the institute on which scientific and technical challenges JBEI is best suited to tackle (too risky or long term for companies to handle).
Some of the unique competitive advantages of JBEI include them housing three scientific divisions and one technology division in one location for better collaboration and integration, a multi-institutional partnership that combines a scientific, operational, and proactive approach to industry engagement and market transformation and administrative expertise, and its location in the Bay Area as an academic and biotech innovation center.
THE JOINT CENTER FOR ARTIFICIAL PHOTOSYNTHESIS
The Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP; http://www.solarfuelshub.org/) is an Energy Innovation Hub funded by DOE, with $75 million over 5 years. It is led by a team from the California Institute of Technology and collaborates extensively with its lead partner, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. They are also partnered with several University of California campuses, including UC Irvine and UC San Diego, as well as the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. They were founded in 2010 and are currently the largest research program dedicated to the advancement of solar-fuels generation science and technology. Their leadership includes Director Harry A. Atwater, Deputy Director for Strategy and Project Management Xenia Amashukeli, and Deputy Director for Science and Research Integration Frances A. Houle.
JCAP’s mission is to create the scientific foundation for a scalable technology that converts CO2 into renewable transportation fuels, under mild conditions, with only sunlight to provide energy. JCAP is focused on four important thrusts of their renewable transportation mission: electrocatalysis; photocatalysis and light capture; materials integration; and test bed, prototyping, and benchmarking. The concentrations span from understanding the effect of molecular structure and surface composition on photocatalytic activity to understanding how ion transport through components affects the efficiency of integrated devices. These thrusts are representative of the TRL spectrum 1-4, with emphasis on applied research for engineering integrated devices.
The evidence of JCAP’s impact lies in the accomplishments and capabilities that it has achieved over the lifetime of the center. This includes reduction of CO2 and CO using bifunctional alloys, new electrocatalysts with benchmarked performance, and fully integrated and efficient prototypes for unassisted water splitting. Over the span of the center’s lifetime, it has more than 250 publications, more than 40 intellectual property disclosures, and over 30 provisional patent applications. It has tours available for grades 10 and up, granting high school students a glimpse into cutting-edge work in solar fuels research.
JCAP has a Strategic Advisory Board and a Scientific Advisory Board that includes members from industry and academia.
Some of the unique competitive advantages of JCAP include streamlined access to DOE light sources and high-performance computational facilities; ultrahigh throughput experimentation capabilities; and suites of unique in situ instrumentation dedicated to research on solar fuels. JCAP also combines theory and experiment in a synergistic program to enable development of new catalysts and materials for solar fuels production with an emphasis on the reduction of CO2 by heterogeneous catalysts.
CLEMSON UNIVERSITY INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR AUTOMOTIVE RESEARCH
The Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR; http://www.cuicar.com) is an innovation campus that focuses on research, education, and economic development related to the automotive industry. Founded in 2007, CU-ICAR is the culmination of a $250 million investment from private, federal, state, and local funds. The first of five technology neighborhoods have been completed on its 250-acre campus. Fred Cartwright is executive director for the CU-ICAR campus, while Zoran Filipi is the chair of the Department of Automotive Engineering.
CU-ICAR’s missions include being a high seminary of learning in the field of automotive engineering;
leading translational research with an emphasis on industry relevance; contributing to high-value job creation in South Carolina; and leading global thinking on the sustainable development of the automotive sector. CU-ICAR is focused on seven strategic automotive research areas that are crucial to the advancement of the field: advanced powertrains, vehicular electronics, manufacturing and materials, vehicle-to-vehicle infrastructure, vehicle performance, human factors, and systems integration. It has accumulated approximately $23 million in sponsored research for its TRL spectrum of 4-6.
Their evidence of impact lies in the jobs and investments that CU-ICAR’s efforts have brought—from the 789 on-campus jobs, to the $250 million that multiple organizations have invested, to the many attributed projects surrounding the CU-ICAR campus, the center has brought in significant development and aggregated good talent. Its educational impact is unique, with the nation’s only graduate Department of Automotive Engineering, enrolling approximately 200 master’s and Ph.D. students. CU-ICAR’s Deep Orange program, an established framework in the Department of Automotive Engineering, is innovative in its intense collaboration with industry partners, with a unique educational experience for students as they experience industry’s product development process and an emphasis on the link between engineering and design. It provides a hands-on and industrial perspective on research, and has been a crucial component of CU-ICAR’s success story. CU-ICAR currently has a 95 percent gainful employment rate into the automotive industry, with students representing 18 countries, and 368 total M.S. and Ph.D. degrees awarded (332 and 36, respectively). The Automotive Engineering program has also accumulated approximately $23 million in its relatively short existence and is well positioned for revolution currently under way toward sustainable mobility and advanced manufacturing. Additionally, partnered with Greenville Technical College in the recently announced 100,000 square foot Center for Manufacturing Innovation, CU-ICAR and Clemson University have embarked on new models for education and research, all under one roof.
CU-ICAR has more than 130 industry partners, all fulfilling unique roles in the initiative. Its on-campus partners include BMW, Michelin, Koyo JTEKT, Sage Automotive Interiors, among others—these partners work closely with CU-ICAR faculty and students to foster innovation between industry and academia. Industry provides support with machinery and equipment, student fellowships and internships, as well as challenging projects in research. CU-ICAR also works closely with industry on the development of new curricula, providing adjunct professorships, and the formation of long-term strategic plans for the campus. Working with industry, CU-ICAR hosts many conferences throughout the year, utilizing multiple facilities designed for this purpose.
One of the distinct advantages of CU-ICAR includes its intimate relationship with industry, which enables a sustainable model for academic relevance and economic growth. The campus location, in the heart of the automotive cluster, in one of the fastest growing economies in the United States, makes CU-ICAR an attractive magnet for investment and talent. Campus design (currently six buildings in Technology Neighborhood I), with approximately 1,000 people, is such that creative “collisions” are frequent and encouraged. Further, with emphasis on the three pillars of research, education, and economic development, CU-ICAR is set apart from other more classic research campuses. There is a constant flow of new companies interested in CU-ICAR, Greenville, South Carolina, the state of South Carolina, and the southeastern United States. With the advent of many new technologies and business models, CU-ICAR is best positioned to lead academia and industry into the era of mobility.
America Makes is the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (http://www.americamakes.us), an institute that is part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation Institutes (NNMI), also known as Manufacturing USA. It is a public-private partnership that has substantial investment from all sectors—private, federal, and academic. They currently have a portfolio of more than $96 million in public and private funds invested in advancing next-generation additive manufacturing in the United States. It was formally established in 2012 and is based in Youngstown, Ohio, and primarily driven by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM). The main leadership includes Ralph Resnick (founding director), Ed Morris (director), and Rob Gorham (operations director).
NNMI is geared toward bringing together industry, academia, and federal partners to increase U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and promote a robust and sustainable national manufacturing research and development
infrastructure. America Makes is focused on increasing the nation’s global manufacturing competitiveness through the following series of goals:
- Fostering a highly collaborative infrastructure for the open exchange of additive manufacturing information and research;
- Facilitating the development, evaluation, and deployment of efficient and flexible additive manufacturing technologies;
- Engaging with educational institutions and companies to supply education and training in additive manufacturing technologies to create an adaptive, leading workforce;
- Serving as a national institute with regional and national impact on additive manufacturing capabilities; and
- Linking and integrating U.S. companies with existing public, private, or not-for-profit industrial and economic development resources, and business incubators, with an emphasis on assisting small- and medium-sized enterprises and early-stage companies (start-ups).
This mission is supported by the collaboration of organizations that are cooperating to pool resources and connections to develop the standards, tools, education, and research required to accelerate the U.S. manufacturing industry into a dominant, global economic force. Its main focus area is the gap in manufacturing innovation that exists between TRL 4 and 7—this is the area where basic and feasibility research funded by the government and academia fails to cross into the systems integration and development region that is captained primarily by industry.
The evidence of impact for America Makes lies in their robust additive manufacturing technology roadmaps and how esteemed it is in the manufacturing industry, as well as 175 members that are a part of America Makes. These members include 109 industry partners, 62 of which are small businesses, 39 academic partners, 14 government partners, 10 nonprofit organizations, and 3 manufacturing extension partnerships. It also provides partner collaborations in projects that suit the capabilities and needs of its members. Its educational impact is leveraged through its combined knowledge and the intimate setting where industry can properly convey what they need to their academic partners, such that students can develop the best mindsets, talents, and experience at a young age.
DIGITAL MANUFACTURING AND DESIGN INNOVATION INSTITUTE
The Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII; http://www.dmdii.uilabs.org) is a public-private partnership managed by UI LABS. The mission of DMDII is to accelerate new technologies into the marketplace that enable manufacturing organizations across the United States to deploy digital manufacturing and design technologies so they can become more efficient and cost competitive. DMDII is a member-driven organization with companies, academic institutions, nonprofits, and governments that was launched in February of 2014 and has received $320 million over 5 years.
The institute’s executive team includes Thomas McDermott (interim executive director) and Brench Boden (chief technology officer) and is supported by 5 directors and 12 staff members.
The technical focus of DMDII is digital manufacturing. The main idea in digital manufacturing is the digital thread, which is the seamless flow of information across the life cycle of a physical product. This life cycle includes all of the steps required to conceptualize, design, prototype, fabricate, assemble, and deliver a product to an end user. The institute is driving a portfolio of about 50 innovation projects, which are scoped to de-risk and demonstrate digital manufacturing technologies along the digital thread. The projects also show how these information flows can make products more quickly, more efficiently, and that better serve the end customer.
DMDII has a unique innovation system where projects are selected and managed against two criteria. First, each project within the institute must solve a business problem that is relevant for a majority of the industry members of the institute. Second, each project must have an innovative technology solution to this problem that represents a significant advance over the state of the art. Each project is conducted by a team of participants representing both industry and academic members of the institute. Normally, the industry members help to focus the project activities on meaningful project outcomes, while the academic members bring knowledge and new
technologies to the project. However, in many cases, the industry members also contribute knowledge and technology and also, in many cases, the academic members bring relevant experiences that help to focus the project.
PowerAmerica, the Next Generation Power Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute (https://www.poweramericainstitute.org/), is helping to advance the development and adoption of cutting edge wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductor technology. The institute will receive $70 million from DOE over 5 years, which will be matched by an equal contribution from North Carolina State University and its industry and academic partners. The institute started operations in January 2015 and is led by North Carolina State University in Raleigh. The leadership team includes Nick Justice (executive director), Victor Veliadis (chief technology officer), and Dan Stancil (principal investigator).
PowerAmerica’s mission is to accelerate the adoption of advanced semiconductor components made with silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) in a wide range of products and systems. WBG technology can improve energy efficiency, reduce the size and weight, and provide significant operational advantages in important industries such as energy production, passenger vehicles, data centers, industrial motors, telecommunications, and many defense applications. The institute advances this cause by making strategic investments in manufacturing facilities for the scale-up and high-volume production of WBG semiconductor devices. The institute also partners with packaging companies, system integrators, end users, and other stakeholders throughout the supply chain to conduct projects that demonstrate the benefits of SiC and GaN, as well as improve semiconductor device performance. PowerAmerica also works with 10 university partners that are helping to build a U.S. manufacturing workforce that possesses the necessary skill sets to “push the envelope” on wide bandgap technology and applications, as well as design, manufacture, install, and repair related production facilities, products, and the systems they enable. Its work places them in the TRL 4-7 categories.
PowerAmerica’s technology advancement efforts have ranged from technology roadmapping, to specific projects that bring companies and universities together, to scale-up of emerging power electronics technologies for factory production, to the creation of the country’s first “open-foundry” SiC-based semiconductor fabrication facility. Driving down the cost of WBG devices so they are competitive with conventional silicon-based semiconductors is an important goal of the institute. Another important contribution to the WBG community is the development of a “Device and Module Bank.” This resource helps to address the continual challenge faced by researchers and system developers, which is the chronic shortage of WBG devices for testing and integration. The PowerAmerica Device Bank has made the devices widely available to its members through a simple online process that ensures confidentiality of the supplier’s information and appropriate restrictions on use of the devices. The Device Bank is helping to provide a vehicle to connect device manufacturers with their potential customers and thereby accelerate product development and commercialization.
PowerAmerica is supported by a wide range of industry and academic partners, ranging from Lockheed Martin, Wolfspeed, and X-FAB to Virginia Tech, Florida State, and Ohio State University. These partners work together with the research staff to push technology into more integrated systems, as well as advising the institute on which scientific and technical challenges PowerAmerica is best suited to tackle (ones that are too risky or long-term for companies to handle). The institute is growing in membership each year and continues to engage with companies throughout the value chain to help develop the manufacturing capability, create high tech jobs, and produce the energy savings that are the promise of WBG power electronic systems.
THE WYSS INSTITUTE
The mission of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering (http://www.wyss.harvard.edu) at Harvard University is to discover the biological principles that nature uses to build living things, and to harness these insights to create new engineering innovations to advance human health and create a more sustainable world. The institute is organized as a 501(c)3 within Harvard University and works as an alliance among the schools of Harvard University and its affiliated hospitals, in addition to neighboring academic institutions in the Greater
Boston area, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston University, and Tufts University as well as select international institutions.
The Wyss Institute was launched on January 1, 2009, with the single largest philanthropic gift in Harvard’s history at the time of $125 million from Hansjörg Wyss along with significant additional contributions from Harvard University. This gift was doubled in 2012. Additional funding is provided by government and industrial grants. The institute’s executive team members including Donald E. Ingber, M.D., Ph.D. (founding director), Ayis Antoniou, Ph.D., M.B.A. (administrative director), and Mary Tolikas, Ph.D., M.B.A. (operations director). The institute currently has 18 core faculty and 15 associate faculty from Harvard and the institute’s partner institutions who also hold academic positions at their home institutions. The institute organizes its research operations around the following eight major focus areas: adaptive materials technologies, living cellular devices, bioinspired robotics, biomimetic microsystems, immuno-materials, synthetic biology, molecular robotics, and 3D organ engineering.
Since its inception, the Wyss Institute has developed a unique model for innovation, collaboration, and technology translation that crosses institutional and disciplinary barriers. Institute faculty and staff engage in high-risk research that leads to transformative breakthroughs. The biological principles uncovered are harnessed to develop new engineering solutions in various sectors, including health care, energy, architecture, robotics, and manufacturing. These technologies are translated into commercial products and therapies through collaborations with clinical investigators, corporate alliances, and new start-ups that are led by a unique internal business development team that includes experienced entrepreneurs-in-residence. Also central to the institute’s technology translation efforts is its Advanced Technology Team (ATT), which consists of expert technical staff with industrial experience in product development and team management who help build and lead integrated technology development teams focused on high-value applications. ATT members work closely with institute faculty and lead project development teams composed of students, fellows, and staff from multiple faculty laboratories that span across all of Harvard’s schools and its collaborating institutions. These technical experts help to catalyze communications and interactions across the institute and to ensure that institute members remain at the leading edge of technology translation. In terms of TRL, the institute’s technology maturity falls in the TRL 1-8 range.
During its brief history, and with only a relatively small number of faculty, the Wyss Institute has achieved a number of important milestones and successes, including more than 1,600 publications (with one article in Science or Nature every month on average) since the institute’s inception in 2009; numerous major awards and recognition (e.g., National Academy elections) for faculty, staff, and technologies; submission of over 1,750 patents, including more than 70 awarded patents; and 17 new companies and 26 licensing deals.
Additional unique aspects of the Wyss Institute include the formation of multi-institutional consortium governed by a single agreement among all its collaborating institutions that governs ownership, management, and revenue sharing of intellectual property and lowers the barriers to the free flow of people and information. This enables the institute to bring together core and associate faculty and their staff from these institutions, so that they can work side-by-side at institute sites. The constant flow of core, associate, and collaborating faculty and staff between the institute and Harvard’s various schools and partner institutions helps to maintain a two-way exchange of information, people, and resources, and to consolidate efforts in biologically inspired engineering across the entire region and beyond. This combination of novel attributes and organizational approaches allows the institute to harness the creative freedom of academia to generate a technology pipeline; enable its staff with product development experience to prototype, mature and de-risk these technologies; and leverage its internal business development team, intellectual property experts, and entrepreneurs-in-residence to drive their commercialization.
INSTITUTE FOR SOLDIER NANOTECHNOLOGIES
The Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (ISN; https://www.isnweb.mit.edu), founded in 2002, is a team of engineers and scientists from MIT, the U.S. Army, and industry that works to discover and field technologies that dramatically advance soldier protection and survivability capabilities. The ultimate goal is to help the Army create integrated systems of nanotechnologies that combine high-tech protection and survivability capabilities with low weight, increased comfort, improved performance, and better compatibility with the end user. Army funding for ISN basic 6.1 research is approximately $135 million over 15 years, dispensed through renewable 5-year contracts
administered by the U.S. Army Research Office (ARO). The main leadership includes John Joannopoulos (director), Raul Radovitzky (associate director), and William Peters (executive director).
The ISN’s mission is to improve the protection and survivability of the warfighter by exploring the potential power of nanotechnology to enable advances in capabilities by working at and extending the frontiers of nanotechnology. Team-based innovation is a hallmark of ISN’s intellectual course, with new ideas and collaborations emerging frequently. Research is primarily fundamental (6.1, $6 million per year), but there are 6.2 ($2 million per year) funds for transitioning basic MIT discoveries by Army and industry partners. The current research portfolio includes the following three strategic areas: (1) lightweight, multifunctional nanostructured materials; (2) soldier medicine—prevention, diagnostics, and far-forward care; and (3) blast and ballistic threats, materials damage, injury mechanisms, and lightweight protection. The research portfolio lies between TRL 1-3, with concept discovery, feasibility, and development. The Army and industry partners use the 6.2 funds to target selected activities for prototyping and scale-up for delivery to the warfighter.
The ISN has many industry partners—for example, FLIR Systems, JEOL USA, Lockheed Martin, Nano-C, Raytheon, Total American Services, Triton Systems, VF Corporation, Xtalic, and the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology. Industry and Army partners work together with ISN researchers to push technology from basic research into real products and help with transition scaling advising the ISN on which scientific and technical challenges are priorities (too risky and/or long-term for companies to handle, or well-aligned with Army science and technology objectives). The ISN places a strong emphasis on basic research. However, the transitioning of promising outcomes of that research is also a crucial component of the mission. To this end, the ISN works with the Army, industry partners, startups and other companies, and with the MIT Technology Licensing Office to help assure that promising ISN innovations leave the laboratory and make it into the hands of soldiers and first responders as rapidly and efficiently as possible. The Army Research Laboratory’s Army Research Office Technology Transfer Officer (TTO) provides an onsite full-time specialist for transitions. It is the TTO’s charge to help maximize the effectiveness and efficiency with which ISN technologies progress from the laboratory bench to more advanced stages of development.
One of the key unique competitive advantages of the ISN is its intimate relationship with the Army. Many high-ranking officials and officers visit MIT/ISN to be briefed on the latest research, and also offer key insight into the current issues the warfighter faces both on and off the field, allowing ISN to identify and redirect resources to critical areas that require the most attention. The MIT/ISN faculty also visits Army installations, such as Fort Bragg, West Point, and Special Operations Command, where direct interactions with warfighters and their equipment are inspirational. Finally, the 6.2 funding is only available to Army researchers and industry researchers (MIT/ISN industrial partners), and those are only for transitioning the basic discoveries from the laboratory to the field. Subcontracts back to MIT can be made to have the transition team include the Army, industry partners, and MIT faculty.