The Nodes are designed to foster collaboration and benefit NextFlex members by providing access to facilities, equipment, and infrastructure to fast-track FHE design, development and manufacturing adoption. They support the national NextFlex mission to facilitate FHE technology innovation, accelerate the development of the manufacturing workforce and promote sustainable advanced manufacturing ecosystems in the US. Each Node will have a representative seat on the NextFlex Governing Council.
“We are pleased to announce our first two regional Nodes that will support the NextFlex community by bringing a concentration of companies, universities and economic development groups together to grow the community and support FHE development,” said Scott Miller, director of strategic programs at NextFlex. “Building upon existing capabilities, investments, and partnerships will immediately jump-start the success of these regional Nodes.”
The NextFlex Massachusetts Node, led by the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M2I2), will leverage the established network of NextFlex members to catalyze the development of the FHE ecosystem with a focus on manufacturing processes. The Node will leverage prior state investments at University of Massachusetts Lowell, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Northeastern University, and support from the University of Massachusetts President’s Office. The Node will accelerate competitiveness of the regional FHE supply chain and complement the NextFlex Technology Hub in San Jose, CA.
Through M2I2, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has committed more than $100 million in funding over five years to invest in projects within the Manufacturing USA program, including up to $13 million in NextFlex Institute projects over the next three years, providing funds for equipment and facilities for the FHE community. Through the Node, NextFlex members will gain discounted access to shared user facilities at the two UMass campuses.
“Our support for Manufacturing USA and NextFlex aligns extremely well with the Commonwealth’s focus and support for innovative, cutting-edge sectors, including FHE application areas such as medical technologies and defense,” said Ira Moskowitz, director of advanced manufacturing programs at The MassTech Collaborative. “We’re honored by this designation and look forward to continuing our partnership with Dr. Malcolm Thompson and the NextFlex team to support the growth of the FHE sector across the state.”
The NextFlex New York Node, led by Binghamton University and supported by New York’s Empire State Development Corporation, will design, develop and manufacture FHE tools, processes, materials, and products. It will also attract, train and employ an advanced manufacturing workforce. The Node’s FHE application areas of focus include defense, medical, industrial infrastructure, and manufacturing.
The Node will extend cost-effective access for the NextFlex member community to existing lab and pilot manufacturing facilities based at Binghamton University and the Rochester Institute of Technology and will optimize New York’s Empire State Development commitment of $20 million in matching funds for projects originated by the New York Node as part of its Upstate Revitalization Southern Tier Soaring initiative.
“Binghamton University has been a leader in the advancement of flexible electronics manufacturing for more than a decade,” noted Mark Poliks, Ph.D., Empire Innovation professor of engineering and director of the Center for Microelectronics Manufacturing. “It was our expertise and strong industry partnerships that solidified New York as a powerful resource within the NextFlex alliance. Our university and industry collaborators continue to excel in advancing FHE technologies, and we are pleased to be recognized officially as the New York Node for this important initiative.”
NextFlex members involved in the creation of these Nodes include: Binghamton University, Rochester Institute of Technology, General Electric Company, Lockheed Martin, i3 Electronics, Intrinsiq Materials, Sensor Films, Universal Instruments, University of Massachusetts Lowell, and University of Massachusetts Amherst. Other members in these regional ecosystems that will support the NextFlex Nodes and FHE developments include: Analog Devices, E Ink, EMD Electronic Materials, Carpe Diem, Lux Semiconductors, SI2, Raytheon, and Vivonics.