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President Obama to Announce New Manufacturing Institute at NC State

(1) Comments | by Gray Rinehart |

NC State University will soon be home to the Next Generation Power Electronics Institute.

(President Obama at yesterday's Cabinet Meeting. White House photo by Pete Souza, from

President Obama will make the announcement on campus here today, but this White House press release has preliminary details about the initiative.

The Department of Energy-supported institute, one of three in the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, will be a consortium of 18 companies and 7 universities and laboratories -- NC State, Arizona State University, Florida State University, University of California at Santa Barbara, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the US Naval Research Laboratory.

The institute

will provide the innovation infrastructure needed to support new product and process technologies, education, and training to become a global center of excellence for the development of wide bandgap semiconductor devices and industry-relevant processes.... WBG semiconductors offer a new opportunity to jumpstart the next generation of smaller, faster, cheaper and more efficient power electronics for personal devices, electric vehicles, renewable power interconnection, industrial-scale variable speed drive motors and a smarter, more flexible grid.

NC State University Chancellor Randy Woodson said in a statement that the Next Generation Power Electronics Institute "embodies everything that our university stands for – from our Think and Do mentality, to our collaborative spirit and unending commitment to solve to the grand challenges of society."

The White House statement notes that the institute "will provide shared facilities, equipment, and testing and modeling capabilities to companies across the power electronics supply chain, particularly small and medium-size manufacturers, to help invent, design and manufacture new semiconductor chips and devices." Since our charter at IES is to help manufacturers and other businesses, we salute any initiative that will improve and expand manufacturing!

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Gray Rinehart has been with IES since 2008. He is a retired Air Force officer, a contributing editor for Baen Books, and an author of one book, Quality Education; a dozen short stories; and two dozen essays, articles, and other works. Connect with Gray on Twitter at


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