Dear Members and Friends,
As you know, NextFlex is one of 16 Manufacturing Innovation Institutes (MIIs) located around the country, with each one focused on a different emerging technology. We at NextFlex are focused on hybrid electronics, while others focus on such things as wide-bandgap semiconductors, e-textiles, 3-D printing, lightweight metals, and other truly fascinating emerging technologies. What we all have in common, though, is a mission to advance research and technology, to grow a US-based manufacturing ecosystem to support the technology, and to secure the workforce needed to manufacture here in the US when the technology has transitioned to volume manufacturing. This mission also supports higher level objectives set forth by the government agencies that oversee the Institutes. Therefore, our mandate under the Department of Defense is two-fold – to not only develop commercially viable technology, but to also support the warfighter.
As part of our obligation to the DoD, each of the nine Institutes under the DoD umbrella undergo a deep assessment every five years to ensure alignment and coordination with DoD objectives, and to evaluate our performance. Our first assessment by the Joint Defense Manufacturing Council (JDMC) will be conducted in August of this year, to answer several key questions, including a determination of a continuing need for the Institute and our strategy for the future. August is normally when we hold our annual Innovation Days event, but due to the time-intensive nature of preparing for the JDMC review, we’ve opted to instead hold Innovation Days in its new timeframe in March of 2024.
We may call on you from time to time as we prepare for the JDMC review to help us tell the story of how we’ve performed against our three mission objectives on both the technology and education and workforce development fronts. This can take several forms such as surveys, testimonials, letters of support, or interviews, all to capture the most impactful ways that we, as a community, have helped transition hybrid electronics toward widespread adoption and commercialization. Our success is interdependent with your success!
Stay tuned for developments and, as always, keep the good ideas coming.
Malcolm J. Thompson, Ph.D.
NextFlex Executive Director