Governor of Massachusetts Announces Over $3M in Funding to Advance Manufacturing

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Massachusetts’ Healy-Driscoll gubernatorial administration has announced over $3 million in grants for 17 projects, as part of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing’s (CAM’s) Massachusetts Manufacturing Accelerate Program (MMAP). The commonwealth created MMAP in the summer of 2021 to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) incorporate cutting-edge technologies, including additive manufacturing (AM), into their workflows.

In annual funding rounds, MMAP provides grants in a 1:1 minimum cost share arrangement with the awardees. MMAP targets its funding based on criteria including the potential of proposals to enhance equitable workforce development in Massachusetts, the collaboration between applicants and non-profits within the Massachusetts advanced manufacturing ecosystem, and strategic alignment with a list of key industries released each year.

MMAP solicitations for FY ‘23 called for manufacturing projects capable of bolstering the “semiconductor, defense and aerospace, battery technologies and [AM]” industries. Typical non-profit partners for SMEs include quasi-state organizations like the consultancy Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP), the career development network MassHire, and the advanced manufacturing consortium Berkshire Innovation Center (BIC).

For example, one of this round’s winners, Busek Co. Inc. of Natick, MA, develops and manufactures a variety of components and systems for space and aerospace, including solar-electric rockets. Buseck partnered with MassMEP to help execute its plan of upskilling 1-3 workers, and plans to devote its $200,000 grant towards new equipment such as a metal 3D printer for rapid prototyping and tooling.

In a press release about the latest round of MMAP awardees, CAM Director Christine Nolan said, “At the Center for Advanced Manufacturing, we are constantly working to build a stronger, more efficient manufacturing sector by investing in capital equipment and workforce development opportunities. “We received a huge response from manufacturers statewide, selecting companies that are well-positioned as suppliers to meet the demands of critical industries such as semiconductors, textiles, battery technologies, defense, and robotics. We are excited to track their progress over the coming years, to see how each of these grantees utilize new technologies to help them scale, add jobs, and contribute to a local supply chain that continues to excel. This will help us build a stronger, more innovative ‘Made in Mass.’ manufacturing sector!”

Image courtesy of Busek Co. Inc.

MMAP is currently seeking applications for CAM Round 5, with the applications due by April 3, 2024. Grants will be for up to $200,000, and target SMEs in alignment with objectives related to microelectronics, defense and aerospace, and electrification. Companies interested in applying can find more information here.

Massachusetts has developed one of the most sophisticated state-level innovation ecosystems in the US, establishing a model that other states could take the lead from in coming years, as the federal government continues to sharpen its focus on building up advanced manufacturing clusters. CAM is part of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, the same organization that houses the Northeast Microelectronics Coalition Hub, which received about $20 million in DoD funding made possible by the CHIPS Act last September.

It is well past time that everyone in the AM industry familiarized themselves with the concept of ‘consortia’: interfirm entities, typically in the form of public-private partnerships, that coordinate agendas and activities to maximize leverage over their relevant markets. This is the level of organization at which the rubber will meet the road in the new era of industrial policy. The enterprises in the best position to compete throughout the next decades will be those that put themselves in the best positions to collaborate.

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