Why Pittsburgh's $62.7 million federal grants for robotics projects are a big deal

Why Pittsburgh’s $62.7 million federal grants for robotics projects are a big deal

The Pittsburgh area just got a major funding boost to prepare for the future of robotics, with a focus on the people who will build them.

Pittsburgh is among 11 districts to receive $62.7 million in grants of $1 billion Rebuilding the regional challenge better From US Department of Economic Developmentas announced on Friday morning.

“The better regional challenge to rebuild revolves around seeing that as our economy recovers and modernizes, and [as] Science and technology are accelerating and changing the way we manufacture, we want small businesses and workers that are driving this transformation and not just turning them aside.” President Joe Biden He said during public statements about financing.

The Southwest Pennsylvania’s New Cooperative Economy, made up of local universities, private entities and philanthropic leaders in the region, said the funding will be split over five regional projects designed to boost the robotics industry and autonomy in the region. These projects are led by the likes of local tech pioneers Institute of Advanced Robotics for ManufacturingAnd the innovation business And the InnovatePGH.

“It was about equity and people first. How do we make sure that people benefit from an economy and a sector that is focused on the future?”

Stephanie Bachmann, Allegheny Conference

What does this mean for Pittsburgh? according to Stephanie BachmannCEO of Allegheny Conference for Community Development And co-chair of the cooperative together Carnegie Mellon University president Farnam JahanianThis means that an estimated $550 million of GDP is coming into this region. It also means training 14,000 workers, creating jobs, and retaining jobs in industries such as health care, manufacturing, energy and agriculture. This means that 750 companies and small and medium-sized businesses will be supported to update their existing technology, as well as adopt new technologies for the future.

“It will allow companies to pivot,” Bachmann said. Technical – “To be able to perform, work and thrive in the new economy.”

The aim is to invite allegheny county robotics companies and the 3,000 manufacturers spread across 11 participating counties toward a more sustainable future. Funded projects include a focus on equality between underrepresented communities in both urban and rural communities.

“It was about equity and people first,” Bachmann said. How do we make sure that people benefit from a future-focused economy and sector? We’ve seen a really great opportunity to marry what’s going on with our technologists and robotics with manufacturers that are looking a way forward to try and understand how they adopt and adapt and how they can train a workforce for the future.”

Bachmann said the five projects were chosen by the New Economy Cooperative of Southwest Pennsylvania because they have a proven track record of delivering positive results for the area, have received government grants in the past and put them to good use. In 2021, when the cooperative began the application process, it brought together 200 partners to provide insight into the areas with the greatest potential for expansion and which could benefit from further investment.

In the end these were the projects that fit the bill as described by the cooperative:

  • Expanded pathways to new economic jobs led Southwest Pennsylvania Commission It was awarded $24.8 million to create a highly coordinated regional skills improvement system that serves robotics technology developers and long-term adopters of robotics technology, opening a range of training options outside of traditional four-year, advanced degrees and ensuring software development based on industry needs.
  • robotics manufacturing hub It is led by the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing Robotics and has raised $14.2 million to eliminate the risks of adoption of advanced robotics and automation technology by SMEs as well as accelerate the commercialization of robotics technologies in these entities.
  • Robot startup factory Led by Innovation Works and raised $12 million to create the world’s preeminent Applied Robotics Startup Factory that accelerates the formation of startups focused on robotics and automation in multiple industrial sectors, including agriculture, construction, mining, energy, warehousing and manufacturing.
  • Expanded Pathways to Entrepreneurship It is led by InnovatePGH and has received $6.9 million to increase pathways into the robotics and autonomy industries for underrepresented populations and launch new minority and women-owned businesses that can support the innovation economy.
  • Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Adoption of Robots led catalytic contact It received $4.8 million to focus on enhancing regional competitiveness by bringing Pennsylvania’s innovations in robotics and automation to small and medium-sized businesses in other industries such as agriculture, construction, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, mining, and transportation.

“Manufacturing is a critical capability for many companies, particularly in the field of robotics and autonomy,” he said. Mike FormicaDirector of Devices and Enterprise at Innovation Works Alpha Lab Gear program in a statement. “Partnering with local suppliers enables startups to leverage these manufacturers’ years of experience leading to superiority. By operating locally, product development can be greatly accelerated through close interactions. We are excited to build and expand this model that will showcase the strength of our technology and manufacturing not only in This Pittsburgh area but across the country.”

Beneficiary organizations and other leaders from Pittsburgh took to social media Friday to celebrate the funding:

Look for more news about the projects being rolled out in the coming weeks.


Atiya Ervin-Mitchell is a member of the 2022-2023 team for Report for America, an initiative of the Groundtruth Project that brings together young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by Heinz Endowments. -30-


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