Minnesota economic development groups pitch med-tech institute

Monday, January 07, 2013

Minnesota economic development boosters are seeking to create a Medical Technology Manufacturing Institute that would be part of an innovation network proposed by President Barack Obama.

Obama's National Network for Manufacturing Innovation initiative aims to create regional manufacturing institutes that would bring universities and industry together to provide businesses with advanced technologies. The White House announced the proposal in March, but Congress hasn't approved the $1 billion in funding needed to create up to 15 institutes. The Obama administration created a pilot institute, devoted to 3-D printing, in Ohio last year.

Several Minnesota organizations —including Greater MSP, the Minnesota High Tech Association and LifeScience Alley — submitted a letter supporting the concept to the Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office (AMNPO) in October. AMNPO, a federal interagency, is seeking public comment on the network concept and issued a request for information on the subject earlier this year.

Nena Street, who's leading an effort to create a Global Robotics Innovation Park in Minnesota, also is leading the economic development groups' push to land funding for the institute, according to Finance & Commerce.

In their letter to AMNPO, project proponents noted that the Twin Cities has strong medical-device and manufacturing industries, as well as a wealth of academic institutions with expertise in medical technology.

The Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association, the University of Minnesota, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities also are backing the proposal. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken wrote a letter of support.

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