Berkeley bywords: Made in the U.S.A.

When it comes to manufacturing know-how, Berkeley Engineering is the College of Big Shoulders. From minuscule chips to massive aircraft, we invent the tools and methods that power the assembly lines of American manufacturing.

That’s why we’re proud to be one of six U.S. universities tapped for the $500-million Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, announced by President Obama on June 24. Together with MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Georgia Tech, Stanford and Michigan, Berkeley Engineering is working with leaders of major U.S. manufacturers and government agencies to meet a vital national priority: accelerating research and innovation on emerging technologies to spur U.S. manufacturing.

Our strengths in manufacturing are longstanding. Since the early 1970s, we’ve been helping the semiconductor industry innovate and scale up in response to mounting global demand. We are also active in precision machining, rapid prototyping and robotics, all of which offer the agility needed for U.S. initiatives in sustainable products, biofuels, photovoltaics, health care, defense, advanced vehicles and other manufacturing domains.

With our AMP partners, we are forming a collaborative framework to share educational materials and best practices in advanced manufacturing and its connection to innovation. Our charge, in the words of the President, is to ensure that the United States remains “a nation that ‘invests it here and manufactures it here’ and creates high-quality, good paying jobs for American workers.”

The AMP was launched at the recommendation of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), which released a report in June on “Ensuring Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing.” One of its authors was Berkeley’s own Eric Schmidt (M.S.’79, Ph.D.’82, EECS), executive chairman of Google.

PCAST notes that “although the U.S. has been the leading producer of manufactured goods for more than 100 years, manufacturing has for decades been declining as a share of GDP and employment. Over the past decade, it has become clear that this decline is not limited to low-technology products, but extends to advanced technologies invented in the U.S., and is not solely due to low-wage competition. We cannot remain the world’s engine of innovation without manufacturing activity.”

What do you think? I welcome your perspective.

S. Shankar Sastry
Dean and Roy W. Carlson Professor of Engineering
Director, Blum Center for Developing Economies
Email Dean Sastry