NEW YORK, NY — The RAPID Manufacturing Institute® — an entity of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and one of the Manufacturing USA Institutes — has been awarded $9.5 million by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to conduct three projects involving technology scale-up, workforce development, and testbed development for future pandemic response. In addition to RAPID’s projects, the NIST funding will support the projects of seven other manufacturing innovation institutes in the Manufacturing USA network. The projects are being funded under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, also known as the COVID-19 Stimulus Package. Read the full NIST announcement.

The RAPID Manufacturing Institute received funding to pursue projects that are a response not only to the lingering effects of COVID-19, but also to prepare stakeholders for a potential future pandemic:

• $4.64MM to develop a testbed for domestic manufacturing of critical pharmaceutical ingredients in the underserved Appalachian region. In this work, RAPID will lead a partnership with the Mid-Atlantic Technology Research and Innovation Center (MATRIC), Teich Process Development, and Procegence.

• $3.77MM to scale continuous manufacturing and modular production of graphene for advanced respirators and biosensors to limit exposure to and transmission of coronavirus. In this effort, RAPID will work with four partner organizations: Avadain, LLC, Southwest Research Institute, Flextrapower, Inc., and the University of Arkansas.

• $1.11MM to develop and deploy a Virtual Technician and Operator Training Program for Advanced Processes in the Pharmaceutical, Biopharmaceutical and Specialty Chemical Industries. As the only Manufacturing USA Institute focused entirely on manufacturing for the process industries, RAPID is in a unique position to gather key stakeholders across these industrial sectors and to map current and future industry needs, in order to train a robust pipeline of workers. 

RAPID’s Executive Director and Chief Technology Officer Ignasi Palou-Rivera said, "RAPID is excited to work with its partners on these projects which not only respond to challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic but will advance the process industries moving forward and position the U.S. processing industry and its workforce for success."

To learn more about RAPID and its projects, visit

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Ashley Smith-Schoettker

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