Consortium Led by URI Research Foundation Designated
“Defense Manufacturing Community”

Home / News / Consortium Led by URI Research Foundation Designated“Defense Manufacturing Community”

by | Aug 29, 2022

by | Aug 29, 2022

UPDATE: Applications now being accepted. Click here to learn more.

Tentative Grant of $5 Million Will Fund Automation & Robotics, Cyber Resiliency and Risk Mitigation Resources Which Strengthen Rhode Island Maritime Defense Industrial Base

Providence, RI – August 29, 2022 – A consortium led by the URI Research Foundation has been designated a “Defense Manufacturing Community” and has been directed by the Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation (OLDCC) to pursue a grant of $5,000,000 to strengthen Rhode Island’s maritime defense industrial base.

Only six applicants to the Defense Manufacturing Community Support Program (DMCSP) were designated as Defense Manufacturing Communities in 2022. With the award, the URI Research Foundation (URIRF) will establish a new consortium, Rhode Island Manufacturing to Accelerate the Defense Ecosystem – “RI MADE.” RI MADE will provide resources which advance Automation & Robotics, Cyber Resiliency, and Risk Mitigation through a minimum of 50 grants to Rhode Island manufacturing companies.

“Given the Ocean State’s extensive academic, commercial, and national security research installations and strong defense manufacturing base, Rhode Island is a natural choice for a DMC designation.  I commend the University of Rhode Island for leading this consortium and I’m pleased to support their efforts,” said Senator Jack Reed, the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a leading member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.  “This new designation could help bring more defense manufacturing jobs and investment to Rhode Island and I will continue doing everything I can to strengthen our national security innovation ecosystem.”

Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman David Cicilline join URIRF Chief Operating Officer Christian Cowan at the December 2019 launch of 401 Tech Bridge.

“Congratulations to the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation for receiving this ‘Defense Manufacturing Community’ designation,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.  “Rhode Island has long served as a key hub for the maritime defense industry, and this designation will help support the growth of our manufacturing base, national security research capabilities, and ocean economy.  I am thrilled to support URI’s efforts and look forward to continuing to work with them.”

“The University of Rhode Island Research Foundation’s designation as a Defense Manufacturing Community will attract millions of dollars in federal investments to advance our national security, develop our workforce, and drive Rhode Island’s economy forward,” said Congressman Jim Langevin. “I can’t wait to see how this grant funding will help our defense manufacturing sector to expand its cutting-edge work on issues of robotics, cybersecurity and other emerging technologies.”

“I’m thrilled that the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation has received a ‘Defense Manufacturing Community’ designation,” said Congressman David Cicilline. “I was proud to advocate for this designation. This important step allows Rhode Island to seek new federal funding to build critical workforce skills, expand infrastructure, and improve research and development, with the goal of enhancing regional capabilities and strengthening national security innovation. Congratulations to everyone involved in this project.” Cicilline, a leading advocate of domestic manufacturing in Congress, authored the Defense Manufacturing Community Support Program, which was signed into law in 2018.

Christian Cowan, URIRF Chief Operating Officer, said that the designation is a win for Rhode Island defense manufacturers and the entire regional supply chain. Per a study from URIRF business unit Polaris MEP, the Defense subsector creates more than $5 billion of economic impact in the Ocean State.

Erik Brine, URI Director of Defense R&D Initiatives, said “This five-year DOD designation will open up new opportunities and the following grant funding will go a long way in developing robust support for the local defense manufacturing community. The new Assessment to Execution (A2E) pilot program, led in conjunction with Polaris MEP, ARM, and MxD, also will create great workforce development opportunities for our students here at URI and around the state.”

Per the OLDCC, “The [RI MADE] project will provide a minimum of 50 small business assistance grants, educate and train 675 students and workers using Manufacturing Innovation Institute enhanced offerings, and launch an innovative Education to Assessment model to enhance assessment capability and supplier matching for DoD supply chain companies.”

URIRF will unveil details on RI MADE at a Polaris MEP Manufacturing Day event on October 4, 2022.

About URI Research Foundation

The URI Research Foundation, also known as URI Ventures, oversees market analysis, commercialization of protected intellectual property, and the development of business relationships with corporate and government partners for the University of Rhode Island. These commercialization activities advance Rhode Island’s economy, while improving human lives and society. Learn more at

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Media Contact: Erin Read; 401-440-8350;

IMAGES: Defense manufacturing photography available on request; URIRF logo

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