The Walmart Foundation and the U.S. Conference of Mayors today announced Oregon State University as one of this year’s U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund grant recipients for the school’s innovation in improving textile weaving efficiency. Oregon State University will receive $800,000 from the Walmart Foundation. The 2017 round of grants are focused on innovations in textile manufacturing processes.
“Advanced manufacturing is one of our signature research areas and being a partner of choice for industry is a one of our strategic goals,” said Scott Ashford, Kearney Professor and dean of the College of Engineering at Oregon State. “This grant will help drive both efforts by allowing a team of interdisciplinary researchers to develop cleaner and more cost-effective textile manufacturing processes.”
Oregon State University is one of six universities that will collectively receive nearly $3 million in grants from the fund to support research proposals that strive to create new manufacturing technologies and reduce the cost of producing goods in the U.S. with the ultimate goal of creating jobs that support America’s growing manufacturing base. The Fund was formed in 2014 to provide a total of $10 million in grants to focus specifically on advancing the production or assembly of consumer products in the U.S. This is the third and final round of grants awarded by Walmart and the Walmart Foundation for the Fund. Oregon State University was also awarded grants in 2014 and 2016. The other winning universities are listed here.
“With the support of the Walmart Foundation and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, this project builds on the steps taken in recent years to closely align the economic development strategy of Corvallis and Benton County with the growing success of Oregon State University, Oregon’s Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network, and other local entrepreneurs in fostering innovation, tech start-up and job creation,” said Corvallis Mayor Biff Traber.
As part of this round of grants from the Fund, the Walmart Foundation granted $800,000 to Oregon State University for their goal to enable sustainable, cost-effective and scalable manufacturing of smart fabrics for display, clean energy generation and controlled heat and mass transfer applications. The researchers on the Oregon State team includes Chi-hung Chang, professor of chemical engineering, and Rajiv Malhotra, assistant professor of mechanical engineering. They hope to create a process for scalable manufacturing of smart fabrics by combining synthesis and printing of sustainable functional nanoparticle inks from low-cost earth-abundant materials.
“Advancing the production or assembly of consumer products in the U.S. is the number one goal of the Innovation Fund,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and chief sustainability officer for Walmart. “As these projects come to fruition over the next few years, we hope the research not only enables cost-effective solutions for manufacturers, but also improves the sustainability of the U.S. textile industry.
Support for the U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund complements Walmart’s larger commitment to help revitalize U.S. manufacturing. In January 2013, Walmart announced a commitment to buy an additional $250 billion in products that support U.S. jobs by 2023.