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President Obama announces innovation institute in Raleigh, N.C.

Jan. 15, 2014 at 5:05 PM   |   Comments

RALEIGH, N.C., Jan. 15 (UPI) -- President Obama said Wednesday U.S. manufacturing innovation efforts must be expanded so the "next big job creating discovery" doesn't happen elsewhere.

Speaking before an audience of about 2,000 people at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, where the nation's second manufacturing innovation program is being created, Obama said the institute will bring area colleges and businesses together. He said Germany has 60 institutes while the United States has just one in Youngstown, Ohio.

"I don't want the next big job creating discovery, the research and technology, to be in Germany or China or Japan; I want it to be right here in the United States of America. I want it to be right here in North Carolina," the president said.

The original proposal called for 15 institutes, Obama said, but he wants to grow the program to 45.

Each institute is to have a specialty with the one in Youngstown focusing on developing new technology for 3-D printing. In Raleigh, the focus is to be power electronics.

"And the next generation of manufacturing will be an American revolution," Obama said. "So in the coming weeks, we're going to be launching two more of these innovation hubs. We've already got them all planned out. One's going to focus on digital design and manufacturing. Another is going to be developing lightweight metals that could transform everything from wind turbines to military vehicles."

Before his speech, Obama toured a Vacon Inc. plant in Durham, N.C., one of the three corners with Raleigh and Chapel Hill of the "Research Triangle." Vacon, which has its headquarters in Finland, is a global manufacturer of frequency converters.

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