AMES, Iowa – Iowa State University’s Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) was awarded a five-year renewal in a state-wide competition as Iowa’s affiliate of the National Institute for Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Manufacturers Extension Partnership (MEP). MEP is a nationwide network of centers located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico created to assist small and mid-sized manufacturing companies. CIRAS will receive $9 million in federal funding over the next five years. Funds will be matched with state, university and private investment, to create a total five-year program budget of roughly $18.6 million.
“This decision is MEP’s expression of confidence in CIRAS and our ability to understand and respond to the needs of Iowa manufacturers,” said Mike O’Donnell, CIRAS’ director of the MEP program. “Change is coming to the U.S. manufacturing industry, and many Iowa companies still need to get ready for it. CIRAS is focused on helping them not only to survive the changes, but to thrive.”
CIRAS has operated the MEP program in Iowa since 2005 and, according to O’Donnell, will likely be renewed for a second five-year period, based on CIRAS’ high scores on internal MEP assessments as one of the best-performing centers in the country over the past two years.
“We’re optimistic that we’ll be helping Iowa manufacturers for at least the next decade,” said CIRAS Director Ron Cox. ”MEP is a crucial part of the vast network of experts that CIRAS uses to help its clients, and we’re pleased that those relationships will continue.”
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