Two Colorado universities may benefit from the creation of two new Pentagon-led manufacturing institutes that President Barack Obama announced Tuesday.
As part of his year-old promise to expand public-private manufacturing partnerships across the country, Obama announced a new center for high-tech digital manufacturing and design in Chicago and another near Detroit that will focus on light-metal manufacturing.
The two innovation hubs will be funded by $140 million in U.S. Department of Defense dollars with at least another $140 million from the private sector, Bloomberg reported.
It is unclear how much of that money will trickle down to the University of Colorado at Boulder for its research with the Chicago institute and to Colorado School of Mines for its research with Detroit.
But the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade has pledged up to $1 million annually for each university, which would be matched by federal dollars.
Obama's long-term goal of the initiative — which includes two other previously announced manufacturing hubs, one in Youngstown, Ohio, and a Energy Department-led hub in Raleigh, N.C. — is to create jobs that have been lost to steep global competition.
The two Colorado universities will get money on a per-project basis. Tuesday's partnership announcement means these schools are in the pool of potential candidates for research contracts, said Kurt Maute, the associate dean for research at the College of Engineering and Applied Science at CU.
"Quite frankly, at this point, everyone can claim success, but nobody knows how much money they will receive from the federal government," Maute said.
He believes the university will get some financial benefit, but he doesn't see that as the point. "The longer-term effect, that researchers suddenly realize there is something really interesting in the area of manufacturing, that is what is important."
Colorado U.S. Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet released a statement Tuesday evening lauding the announcement. Both supported the push in November to create the federal manufacturing-hub program.
"Obviously, our military purchases a lot of goods," Udall spokesman Mike Saccone said. "By encouraging this innovation, it will help DOD find cheaper and faster ways to do it."
The Associated Press contributed to this story.