Robots in Manufacturing Environments Manufacturing Innovation Institute (RIME-MII)

Funding Agency:
Department of Defense

Robots in Manufacturing Environments Manufacturing Innovation Institute (RIME-MII).  This FOA seeks proposals from U.S. non-profit organizations (minimum 1:1 cost share) interested in entering into a Technology Investment Agreement (TIA), pursuant to 10 USC §2371, for the purpose of establishing a state-of-the-art, end-to-end, sustainable Manufacturing Innovation Institute (MII) in support of Robots in Manufacturing Environments.

This FOA solicits proposals to initiate and sustain the RIME-MII as part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) program.  The DOD to-date has awarded six institutes: (1) “America Makes – The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute” in 2012; (2) Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing, now referred to as Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT), and (3) Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation, both established in February 2014; (4) Integrated Photonics MII, now referred to as AIM Photonics, established in July 2015; (5) Flexible Hybrid Electronics, now referred to as NextFlex, established in August 2015, and (6) Revolutionary Fibers and Textiles, now referred to as Advanced Functional Fabrics Of America (AFFOA), established in April 2016.  This FOA is for one of two planned DoD-led Institutes planned for award in FY17. The anticipated seventh DoD-led Institute, focused on Advanced Tissue Biofabrication, is under solicitation. The RIME-MII will be the eighth DoD-led Manufacturing Innovation Institute.  

These Manufacturing Innovation Institutes (MII) bring together industry, institutions of higher education (four-and two-year universities, community colleges, technical institutes, etc.), and federal and state agencies to accelerate innovation by investing in industrially relevant manufacturing technologies with broad applications. These MIIs help bridge the gap between basic/early research and product development by developing and scaling critical technologies in the manufacturing readiness level 4 to 7 ranges.  In addition to facilitating robust applied manufacturing research and development (R&D), these MIIs provide shared assets to help companies – particularly small manufacturers – access cutting-edge capabilities and equipment. They also can create an unparalleled environment to educate and train students and workers in advanced manufacturing skills. 

The government intends for this FOA to support the establishment of a RIME-MII to advance state-of-the-art application of collaborative robotic technologies in manufacturing environments. The motivation for the RIME-MII is to increase U.S. competitiveness in robotics applied primarily in manufacturing environments by: 1) encouraging the development and scale-up for commercialization of critical enabling technologies such as; human-robot/robot-robot collaboration; perception and sensing; robot control to include adaptation, learning, and repurposing; autonomy and mobility; and dexterous manipulation; 2) establishing common standards and testing protocols allowing the integration of multiple robotics technologies; 3) creating a robotic technology solution repository (to include modelling tools, databases, catalog of technology demonstrations and concept sharing mechanisms ); and 4) providing workforce training and education programs to ensure the U.S. workforce can effectively utilize and collaborate with robots in a broad spectrum of manufacturing environments.  

The application process under this FOA consists of a Concept Paper stage and a Proposal stage. The purpose of this two-step approach is to facilitate pre-screening by the U.S. Government such that detailed proposals are only sought from applicants whose concept papers demonstrate the most promise for award (this also helps to reduce unnecessary bid and proposal effort). 

An Applicant may only submit one Concept Paper and, if invited, one Proposal, but proposed sub-recipients may team on multiple Concept Papers/Proposals.  

  • Duke Internal Deadline: August 15, 2016
  • The deadline for receipt of Concept Papers is no later than 3:00 PM local Durham, NC time on Thursday, September 1, 2016.

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility to respond to this FOA is limited to U.S. non-profit organizations who will serve as the lead organization and recipient of the RIME-MII award.  The lead organization will propose a partnership that may include a cluster of businesses, manufacturing firms, academic institutions, and non-profit industry consortia.  Businesses of all sizes and structures are encouraged to participate as part of a teaming arrangement to capitalize on potential niche expertise. 



Amount Description

The Federal government (DoD) anticipates funding $80 million ($80M) for this RIME-MII, distributed across five fiscal years (FY 17-21).  It is both likely and desired that other federal government programs will seek to utilize or leverage the advanced manufacturing innovation ecosystem this MII will create and sustain.  The recipient must provide a schedule that demonstrates meeting the minimum of $80M in non-federal funding cost share (1:1 minimum) by the end of the fifth year of the TIA.  Given this cost-sharing requirement, the minimum total program funding is $160M. 

Funding Type





Environmental & Life Sciences

Internal Nomination

Owing to the sponsor's restriction on the number of applications that may be submitted from Duke, anyone wishing to pursue nomination should submit the following materials as one PDF.

* A letter of support from dean or chair - 1 to 1.5 pages - please include information about how the 1:1 cost share will be met
* Project summary - 2 to 4 pages
* CV or Biosketch of project leader

Applicants will need to submit internal materials through My Research Proposal.(Code ILN)

Instructions for setting up your account and uploading internal applications can be found here: Instructions_FINAL.pdf

Internal Deadline

August 15, 2016

External Deadline

September 1, 2016