Marshall University’s Robert C. Byrd Institute awarded $6.8 million to support advanced manufacturing

From a Rep. Nick Rahall Release

BECKLEY, W.Va. – Emphasizing the importance of building and sustaining a strong manufacturing base in southern West Virginia, U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), together with Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Wednesday announced $6.8 million for the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing (RCBI) in Huntington.

“If we are to diversify our economy and bring new jobs to our region, we must continue to support initiatives like RCBI that promote innovation in our manufacturing sector, train our workforce for cutting-edge jobs, and help our businesses to improve their productivity and competitiveness,” said Rahall.  “I am working hard to protect funding for RCBI and similar investments, recognizing that they will make our State and our Nation a stronger competitor in the world-wide marketplace.”

“It is clear that America’s economic future lies in our ability to maintain our edge and compete globally. That’s why this continued funding is so critical,” Senator Jay Rockefeller said. “The federal government and private sector both play important roles in providing needed resources to support the key technology and leading minds that drive innovation in this country. American and West Virginia innovators must be empowered to compete on any playing field. With the right support, strategy, and investment, I know that the 21st century can unlock a wide range of opportunities for American innovation.”

RCBI supports small- and medium-sized manufacturers in West Virginia by providing them with access to new and emerging technologies and workforce training, helping to ensure a strong manufacturing supplier base for the Department of Defense, NASA, and other government agencies.

RCBI has been an economic catalyst for manufacturing opportunities in West Virginia, highlighting new and growing sectors of biometrics and nanotechnology, biomedicine and bioengineering, composite fabrication and robotics, and rapid prototyping, 3-D modeling and printing.  During the past five years, RCBI activities were directly responsible for bringing nearly 1,000 highly skilled and higher paying jobs to the State, translating into $43 million in incremental incomes.

“The hallmark of American manufacturing and the jobs it creates has always been and must continue to be innovation,” said Rahall. “RCBI puts innovation to practical and commercially feasible use for business. A prime example is RCBI’s 3-D printer technology, ‘click-of-a-mouse’ equipment that has assisted more than a dozen companies, saving them time and money with prototype production.  Half of our country’s research and development is committed to our manufacturing sector, driving more innovation than any other economy.  Thanks to Senator Byrd’s vision, RCBI is helping to keep West Virginia manufacturers operating on the leading edge of technological innovation.”

 

The funding was awarded through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) within the Department of Defense.

 


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