University of Wisconsin-Madison and Argonne partner to further advanced manufacturing technologies


Credit: Argonne National Laboratory

The University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) and the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory signed a memorandum of understanding to build partnerships to accelerate the development of technologies to fuel growth in the 1.2 trillion manufacturing sector, and facilitate a broad portfolio of research shared between the two institutions.

The UW-Madison's College of Engineering will partner with Argonne to leverage complementary expertise. Three important thrust areas for Argonne — the Grid Program, Nuclear Science and Engineering, and Manufacturing Science and Engineering — join forces in this collaboration. They will partner with UW-Madison in developing and testing advanced materials, nuclear engineering and power grid research and in developing new processes for making manufacturing more energy efficient and sustainable.

Manufacturing accounts for roughly 25 percent of U.S. energy consumption and generates 12percent of U.S. gross domestic product. New highly functionalized materials, chemistries and devices that can be manufactured at scale can open up new sources of energy and product lines. Argonne launched a lab-wide manufacturing science and engineering initiative to capitalize on unique strengths in materials and chemistry, X-ray science and advanced computing to build breakthrough technologies.

In addition, Argonne's grid program investigates future technologies including micro and macro electric smart grids with integrated energy storage devices; advanced transportation systems with energy interoperability solutions; and nuclear energy systems that are safe, resilient and cost-effective.

"To ensure that the next generation of advanced technologies and energy materials are manufactured in the U.S., national laboratories and universities need to partner to build the next generation workforce and new technologies in our own backyard," said Santanu Chaudhuri, director of Manufacturing Science and Engineering at Argonne. ""UW-Madison will bring to Argonne a proven track record of training top-tier engineers and developing entrepreneurs that want to launch cleantech, materials and energy-based startups in the Midwest."

The partnership with UW-Madison will aim to increase the number of scientists, engineers and students that will collaborate with Argonne at its new Midwest manufacturing science facility. UW-Madison faculty and students will work with technical leaders in grid technology and nuclear engineering. The new partnership was facilitated by Argonne's University Partnerships Program, which aims to diversify Argonne's workforce pipeline and increase innovation by creating new professional development opportunities for Argonne staff and supporting the development of science through collaboration.

"The collaboration between UW-Madison and Argonne National Laboratory will provide an impactful technical partnership on societal needs including energy, sustainability, materials discovery and advanced manufacturing. The proximity of the university to the laboratory will permit strong personal interactions," said Ian Robertson, UW-Madison College of Engineering dean.

Argonne and UW-Madison also plan to launch pilot projects for UW-Madison entrepreneurs and researchers looking to grow technologies and to leverage Argonne's unique set of research tools, including:

  • The nation's highest-energy X-ray source, the Advanced Photon Source (APS), for materials characterization
  • High performance computing at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF)
  • The Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM)
  • The Materials Engineering Research Facility, a DOE facility to enable the conversion of laboratory bench-top discoveries to economically viable commercial-scale production levels

The partnership is a win-win. "The Grainger Institute for Engineering and Argonne National Laboratory are working together on defined initiatives that draw upon complementary technology," said Dan Thoma, director of the Grainger Institute for Engineering, which is part of the College of Engineering at UW-Madison. "Joint research with a local, premier national laboratory will provide multiple opportunities for collaboration to promote technical advancements."


The APS, ALCF and CNM are DOE Office of Science User Facilities.

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Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit the Office of Science website.

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