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Pa. awards $3M in grants to support students' advanced manufacturing research projects

A machine helps to make products.
Keith Srakocic
Fluid cools a shaft being turned on a lathe where workers build fans for industrial ventilation systems at the Robinson Fans Inc. plant in Harmony, Pa.

The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) announced it will award $3,050,357 in grants to 45 student research projects through the Manufacturing PA initiative.

DCED Secretary Rick Siger announced the grants at the sixth annual Manufacturing PA Innovation Program Expo that took place in Harrisburg last week. As part of the Manufacturing PA fellowship program, each student project will be paired with a local manufacturer to develop new technologies. Once paired, each research project can apply for and receive between $25,000 and $70,000.

According to an April 5 news release, the projects will work to advance the state’s innovation in many sectors including autonomous machining, clean energy and medical devices among others.

“The Shapiro Administration understands the importance of investing in cutting-edge research projects like these to generate continued economic growth and foster innovation in the Commonwealth,” Siger said. “Pennsylvania is home to some of the finest research institutions in the country, and I know the work of the students and projects funded here today will ensure we will remain a national leader in manufacturing and innovation.”

The student research projects are involved with 15 Pennsylvania colleges and one Philadelphia hospital. In Allegheny County, Carnegie Mellon University, Robert Morris University and the University of Pittsburgh are participating in the program.

The Manufacturing PA initiative was first developed in 2018 in partnership with the state’s seven research institutions, manufacturers and industrial resource centers. Over the years the program has awarded $15.1 million to 234 projects and 602 graduate and undergraduate students in Pennsylvania.

Betül Tuncer is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh double majoring in Media and Professional Communications and Legal Studies and pursuing a Digital Media certificate and a Museum Studies minor.