Fueling Flexible Electronics
Flexible electronics encompasses a large cross-section of technical sciences such as polymers, advanced materials, flexible displays and more. Each of these areas are “developing a new class of flexible electronic devices,” which can be applied to products in the medical, advanced energy, military, industrial and consumer markets. In August, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) added more fuel to the flexible electronics fire by awarding a $75 million grant to San Jose-based company FlexTech Alliance.
The grant is meant to help establish the Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute (FHE MII), which would be a consortium of 96 companies, 11 laboratories and non-profits, 43 universities and 15 state and regional organizations., What does this have to do with Northeast Ohio? Team NEO has been named a lead partner on this new federal initiative to advance the manufacturing and commercialization of flexible electronics in the region and other regions across the country.
In partnership with Western Michigan University’s Center for the Advancement of Printed Electronics, Team NEO will serve as the Midwest Node leader for the Institute. This partnership aligns well with some of the initiatives Team NEO has already been working on over the past few years. Team NEO has assembled key pieces of a strong flexible electronics value chain, taking a lead role to integrate the strengths of academic and industrial partners in the region.
This co-led Midwest Node encompasses more than 32 organizations, including Team NEO’s flexible electronics cluster, FlexMatters®, as well as The University of Akron, Case Western Reserve University, Kent State University and Lorain County Community College.
Specifically, the $75 million grant will be spread over a five-year period and is being matched by more than $96 million in cost sharing from non-federal sources. Companies and organizations in Northeast Ohio make up more than $22 million in matching funds. The funds will be distributed by FlexTech through project bids.
With the region’s well-established FlexMatters cluster, rich history in materials, strong biomedical resources, and career advancement, Northeast Ohio is well fit to contribute to the efforts designated by the DoD. This partnership between Team NEO and FlexTech Alliance reaffirms our region’s national role as an important innovation hub for fueling flexible electronics.