The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $1 million to the Applied Science & Technology Research Organization of America (ASTRO America) to accelerate the growth of the 3D printing ecosystem in Florida, through the NSF’s Regional Innovation Engines program. Nicknamed ‘NSF Engines’, the program is administered by the NSF’s Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships, established via the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022.

ASTRO America, a 501(c)(3) think tank established in 2018 and headquartered in Bethesda, MD, is one of over 40 organizations across the nation to be awarded a grant from the inaugural round of NSF Engines funding, which was first announced about a year ago. Significantly, the initiative for which ASTRO America received the grant — “Accelerating Additive Manufacturing [AM]” — will serve as a pilot program for deploying the Biden administration’s national AM Forward strategy on a state-level in Florida.

AM Forward, of course, is the voluntary industrial compact entered into in May 2022 by some of the nation’s largest defense contractors. Among other policy prescriptions, it delineates a comprehensive list of target numbers for the proportion of parts produced with AM by small and medium enterprise (SME) contract manufacturers in the US. To support the Florida pilot program, ASTRO America is also partnering with some of the state’s leading public universities, including the University of Florida and the Florida A&M University-Florida State University College of Engineering, as well as small manufacturers in the AM sector, such as Sintavia.

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