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The Richard King Mellon Foundation has made a $150 million transformational investment in science and technology programs at Carnegie Mellon University. This grant will significantly accelerate activity in three fields that have been key to Pittsburgh’s 21st century renaissance and are central to CMU’s future in advanced manufacturing, robotics, and the sciences. Half of the grant will be a $75 million lead gift for a new cutting-edge science facility to be built on the CMU campus in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The remaining half will support advanced manufacturing and robotics.

A $30 million commitment will expand the Manufacturing Futures Initiative into the Manufacturing Futures Institute (MFI). As a permanent organization supporting manufacturing activities across the entire campus and managed by Carnegie Mellon College of Engineering, the newly established institute will have both the long-term vision and funding to address the complex challenges facing U.S. and global manufacturing and enhance economic development. Half of the $30 million grant will create an endowment to sustain the MFI in perpetuity.

A $45 million lead grant will further expand Carnegie Mellon’s robotics research capacity by funding a new facility, the Robotics Innovation Center (RIC) at Hazelwood Green. The RIC, which will support translational robotics activities across campus, will complement and accelerate work at the nearby Manufacturing Futures Institute. The proposed 150,000 square-foot facility will give robotic researchers the space to make discoveries that can be translated into real-world technologies that transform people’s lives by improving safety, health, and quality of life.

Our partnership at Hazelwood Green secures a leading role for Pittsburgh and the United States in advanced manufacturing and robotics.

William Sanders, Dean, College of Engineering

“We look forward to working with the School of Computer Science as both colleges expand translational robotics research within the RIC. This next chapter of our partnership at Hazelwood Green has the potential for exponential growth as we secure a leading role for Pittsburgh and the United States in advanced manufacturing and robotics,” said William Sanders, dean of the College of Engineering.

The Manufacturing Futures Institute’s goals will be to develop state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing equipment and processes; build collaborations between CMU researchers, industry, and government organizations; fuel entrepreneurship through startups and spin-off companies; strengthen the ecosystem for technology transfer to industry partners; and collaborate to expand high-tech workforce training for the Pittsburgh region’s residents. MFI will partner with large manufacturing corporations, small and medium-sized regional businesses, and work with K-12 students and teachers to ensure that the future of advanced manufacturing provides opportunities across the board.

“We know that industrial cities and their workers in the U.S. have been greatly affected by the downturn of jobs in manufacturing since their peak in 1979. But we’ve seen how the ingenuity created by corporate, government, nonprofit, and university partnerships in Pittsburgh have begun to make a profound positive impact,” said Gary Fedder, director of the Manufacturing Futures Institute. “Through this investment by the Richard King Mellon Foundation to create a sustainable, permanent Manufacturing Futures Institute, CMU will feed a humming engine of innovation for advanced manufacturing, not just for Pittsburgh but for the nation.” 

The grant is the latest commitment to be announced as part of Make Possible: The Campaign for Carnegie Mellon University. The multiyear effort aims to raise $2 billion in private philanthropy to support CMU’s strategic priorities across the university and its seven colleges and schools. To date, more than 52,000 supporters have contributed more $1.66 billion in support of the university.

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