November 2, 2016 – PROVIDENCE, RI – Polaris MEP (Manufacturing Extension Partnership), a division of the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation, announces today the second round of applications are open for the Manufacturing Innovation Challenge, a competitive opportunity for RI manufacturers supplying the defense industry to access over $1 million of available funding, expertise and hands-on design and product development talent. Awards are currently available to qualifying RI manufacturers with a defense focus. Applications can be found at www.polarismep.org/challenge. Deadline is November 23, 2016 at 12:00 pm.

MIC-top-blockIn August of this year, 32 manufacturers were awarded nearly $700,000 after the first Manufacturing Innovation Challenge application period. “We are incredibly excited at the progress and already immediate results of the Manufacturing Innovation Challenge program to date,” said Christian Cowan, Center Director for Polaris MEP. “Manufacturers in the first round are accessing world-class experts from multiple disciplines to grow their companies through industrial design, innovation and education. We look forward to the next round of applications being as competitive and impactful.”

The second round of applications are open for Phase One Strategic Assessments. In this Phase, manufacturers get access to a top team of experts who evaluate the manufacturers’ current innovation landscape. This deep dive into the company involves over 75 hours of expert consulting led through strategic design facilitation. The deliverable is innovative ideas and actionable recommendations for business growth.

Manufacturers who complete Phase One can then be eligible for Phase Two Growth Implementation projects, to be awarded again in early 2017. With ideas and recommendations in hand from the prior phase, companies may access funding to support implementation plans for business development and innovation.

More information and the application can be found at www.polarismep.org/challenge. For questions, contact Polaris MEP at 401-270-8896 or email MIC@polarismep.org.

The Manufacturing Innovation Challenge is a program of Polaris MEP, in partnership with Commerce RI, and made possible by a grant to Commerce RI from the Office of Economic Adjustment and U.S. Department of Defense.

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About Polaris MEP

Polaris MEP is a statewide non-profit organization that provides competitive manufacturing business improvement programs to grow Rhode Island’s manufacturing industry. Polaris is an affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Program (NIST MEP) and a business unit of the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation. Since 1996 Polaris has delivered improvement solutions to more than 750 Rhode Island manufacturers to help them achieve sustainable and profitable growth.

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