Five Penn State Research Teams Win PA Innovation Grants for Manufacturing


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania – Penn State has received five grants through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Manufacturing PA Initiative. The initiative has awarded $2 million from 29 total grants and will bring together government, industry and higher education in a holistic collaboration to drive new technologies and processes in manufacturing.

The Corporate Engagement Center and the Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP), within the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research at Penn State, worked to promote the program and connect manufacturing partners with faculty and university students. The DCED awarded grants to Penn State DuBois; Penn State Erie, Behrend College; Penn State Altoona; and Penn State University Park.

“We are thrilled to see these funded research projects and established relationships between Pennsylvania manufacturers and Penn State,” said Tanna Pugh, PennTAP director and PA Manufacturing program manager for Penn State. “This program offers leading university researchers and students the opportunity to build relationships in the manufacturing industry and advance innovative research that will have real-world impact.”

Approved projects are part of Manufacturing PA’s scholarship program, which matches eligible graduate and undergraduate students with local manufacturers. Once paired, students embark on research projects to develop new technologies and advance innovation across the state.

“Pennsylvania’s manufacturing industry continues to grow and advance with new technologies and practices, despite the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has presented to all of us, and this funding provides support for innovative projects across the manufacturing system. our state’s higher education in conjunction with local manufacturers,” Governor Tom Wolf said.

Approved projects are helping to advance innovation in several manufacturing sectors, from medical to energy to consumer goods. Additional details on many of the projects approved under the program are available on the Manufacturing PA Innovation Program website. Penn State-funded projects include:

“Making ultraconductors for next-generation efficient electrical machines”

  • Principal Investigator: Kofi Adu, Associate Professor of Physics
  • Industry partner: Electric Motor & Supply Inc.
  • Campus: Penn State Altoona

“Enabling PECM Process Analysis for Advanced Design of Cathodic Systems”

  • Principal researcher: Edward De Meter, Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Industry partner: Extrude Hone LLC
  • Campus: Penn State University Park

“I-AIM4PA: AI Innovation in Advanced Manufacturing for Pennsylvania”

  • Principal Investigator: Guha Manogharan, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Industrial partner: Verder Scientific Inc.
  • Campus: Penn State University Park

“Fabrication of Cu-Ni-Si Parts by Powder Metallurgy”

  • Principal Investigator: Daudi Waryoba, Associate Professor of Engineering
  • Industrial partner: Symmco Inc.
  • Campus: Penn State Dubois

“Intelligent manufacturing and operator intervention systems for injection molding processes”

  • Principal Investigator: Jason Williams, Assistant Professor of Engineering Education, Plastics Engineering Technology and Director of the Medical Plastics Center of Excellence
  • Industrial partner: the Plastek group
  • Campus: Penn State Behrend

See the full list of all 29 projects, including funding amounts and manufacturing partners, at this link.

For more information about industry partnerships at the University, visit the Corporate Engagement Center website and the PennTAP website. Interested faculty can visit the website for more information and can contact the Corporate Engagement Center for assistance with application or facilitating manufacturing partnerships.

About the Manufacturing PA Initiative

Governor Tom Wolf’s Manufacturing PA initiative aims to ensure that training leads not just to any job, but to careers that offer higher pay and opportunities for advancement. Working with DCED’s strategic partners, including Pennsylvania IRCs, colleges, universities, technical schools, and nonprofits, this initiative fosters collaboration and partnerships to accelerate technology advancements, encourage innovation and marketing and creating a 21st century workforce.

About PennTAP

The Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program at Penn State is a federal, state, and university partnership aimed at stimulating statewide economic development. PennTAP helps organizations maximize their competitiveness through in-person consultations, unbiased technical advice, and connections to Penn State experts, resources, and programs.

About the Business Engagement Center

The Corporate Engagement Center connects industry partners to Penn State’s strategic opportunities for research and development, philanthropy, and talent recruitment. Reunited in 2019, the center serves as a hub for industry/academic relations, helping companies navigate Penn State’s vast resources. The team is here to help build lasting and mutually beneficial relationships.

The Corporate Engagement Center is a joint initiative of the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research and the Office of Academic Development, working in partnership with Career Services.


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