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KSTC-led Additive Manufacturing Initiative Selected as NSF Engines Finalist

Partners include higher education, nonprofit organizations and industry leaders.


On August 2, 2023, the National Science Foundation announced that a project led by the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC) was named a Type-2 finalist in the NSF’s Regional Innovation Engines (NSF Engines) competition. The project, Additive Manufacturing Forward Engine (AMFE) was selected as one of only 16 finalists nationally. If awarded, AMFE could bring $160 million over 10 years to Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio to accelerate additive manufacturing technologies in the region.


“It is an honor to be selected as an NSF Engines finalist. This recognition speaks to the immense impact additive manufacturing can have both regionally and nationally,” said KSTC President and AMFE project lead Terry Samuel. “This project forges strong partnerships among research institutions, nonprofit organizations and industry leaders to bring innovative, cost-effective and sustainable solutions as well as high-paying manufacturing jobs to our local, regional and national economies.”


“This project forges strong partnerships among research institutions, nonprofit organizations and industry leaders to bring innovative, cost-effective and sustainable solutions as well as high-paying manufacturing jobs to our local, regional and national economies.”

AMFE’s goal is to streamline and advance additive manufacturing technologies to revolutionize manufacturing practices. Additive manufacturing can reduce part lead times, material costs, energy usage and waste, and is a key technology for aerospace and semiconductor manufacturing.


“An NSF Engine award will allow the U.S. to achieve the full promise of industrial additive manufacturing in high-impact applications,” explained Ed Herderick, vice president of science and technology development at NSL Analytical and a co-lead on the AMFE project. “Bringing our research partners together with industry leaders will expand high-volume additive practices in the broad base of American manufacturing, transforming our nation’s supplier network.”


“An NSF Engine award will allow the U.S. to achieve the full promise of industrial additive manufacturing in high-impact applications.”

The AMFE project will establish a new technology cluster that is industry-led, university research fueled, and together with the government, form a new vision for public-private partnerships. The lead organization for AMFE is the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation, with core partners including the University of Louisville, West Virginia University, The Ohio State University, America Makes, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, and the Applied Science and Technology Research Organization of America (ASTRO America).


Additionally, the project will invest resources and leverage existing partnerships, such as KSTC’s strong relationship with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, to engage local government and citizens, educational institutions and local economic development organizations and bring world class research to new stakeholders.


"University of Louisville researchers have the knowledge and expertise to deliver innovative additive manufacturing solutions to impact everything from aerospace and automotive manufacturing to logistics and national security,” said UofL Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation Kevin Gardner. “Together, we can put these innovations to work to exponentially grow our nation’s additive manufacturing capabilities.”


“Together, we can put these innovations to work to exponentially grow our nation’s additive manufacturing capabilities.”

Additive manufacturing brings multiple benefits to industry partners and will drive economic growth by creating high-paying jobs, resolving supply chain issues and delivering critical parts. A comprehensive workforce development approach underpins the proposal and creates pathways for career advancement at all tiers of the supply chain, building a culture of innovation that will move at the speed of industry.


“We have been working with the U.S. government and key iconic corporations, including Boeing, GE Aerospace, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon Technologies, and Siemens Energy to build supply chain resiliency through the adoption of additive manufacturing,” said ASTRO America President Neal Orringer. “AMFE will accelerate these efforts, and we look forward to working with Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia stakeholders to catalyze and foster a powerful regional innovation ecosystem.”


The NSF Engines program launched in 2022 to address critical issues outlined in the “CHIPS and Science Act.” The next and final phase of the competition includes an in-person site visit by NSF reviewers to evaluate each team’s ability to mobilize within the first two years, competitive advantages, budgets, workforce development efforts, risks and resources. The competition received 188 proposals which were narrowed down to 34 semifinalists in June. Awardees will be announced this fall.

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