Louisiana Universities Collaborate to Expand Advanced Manufacturing Research through NASA

11/13/2012 04:06 PM

BATON ROUGE – Working to leverage the impactful research and economic development opportunities at NASA’s Michoud Facility in New Orleans, members from six Louisiana engineering degree-granting universities explored the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing, or NACM, on Thursday, Nov. 1, to initiate collaboration for research opportunities. Participating in the NCAM experience were representatives from LSU, Louisiana Tech University, McNeese State University, Southern University, Tulane University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the University of New Orleans.


NCAM – a principal NASA resource in Louisiana that supports aerospace manufacturing research, development and innovation critical to the goals of the nation's space program – has evolved into a multi-tenant facility at one of the world’s largest manufacturing centers. On Aug. 2, leaders from the state of Louisiana, NASA, LSU and UNO committed to a five-year extension of an agreement to support and develop NASA’s NCAM.


In September, the Louisiana Council of Engineering Deans, or LCED, convened to designate the NCAM partnership with NASA as an LCED initiative, and encourage their faculty to work collaboratively on research projects centered on advanced manufacturing, with NCAM serving as the clearing house for these research partnerships.


Louisiana Engineering NCAM Day was the first in a series of faculty-driven events aimed at bolstering multi-university steered innovation. The future opportunities at NCAM will foster development of new collaboration among Louisiana universities and industry partners in projects intended to advance research efforts around an area of focus for the economic development initiatives of the state.


"The Louisiana engineering day at NCAM marks the first time engineering deans from around the state coalesced to explore collaborations and partnerships focused on advanced manufacturing," said Richard Koubek, dean of the LSU College of Engineering. "This show of support gives great promise to the role that we, Louisiana's engineering faculty, can play in advancing Louisiana's economic development initiatives."


NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility is located on an 832-acre site in eastern New Orleans, with 43 acres under a single roof and deepwater access that enables transportation of large space systems and hardware. Today, nearly 400 of the 2,600 employees at the multi-tenant, multi-use Michoud facility are associated with the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing and benefit from its operation.


NCAM partners strive to improve U.S. competitiveness in aerospace and commercial markets and enable transfer of technology to industry partners and educational institutions within the partnership and across the nation. NCAM also has a strong educational role, sponsoring a consortium of Louisiana research universities developing advanced materials and manufacturing technologies key to the production of aerospace hardware and structures.


To date, the state of Louisiana has invested more than $62 million in the NCAM partnership – funds that have helped sustain a trained aerospace workforce in Louisiana with world-class manufacturing capabilities.


For more on the LSU College of Engineering, visit www.eng.lsu.edu.

Mimi  LaValle 
Department of Physics & Astronomy

Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2012