KIETS Director Ruben G. Carbonell is a member of the leadership team for NIIMBL, an institute that is part of the Manufacturing USA Network to enhance the nation’s manufacturing-based economy. NIIMBL’s mission is to advance the economic competitiveness of the US biopharmaceutical industry, to create jobs and improve the economy by accelerating the development and implementation of high-impact biomanufacturing innovations that can be applied to current and future biopharmaceutical products, and to educate and train a world-leading workforce for the future of this industry. NIIMBL was formally established on March 1, 2017, by a $70 million collaborative agreement over five years from the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), an institute that is part of the Department of Commerce.
Dr. Carbonell serves as NIIMBL’s Senior Technology Strategist. Since its inception in FY 2017-18, the State of NC has provided $10 million in funding to be used as cost-share matches for NIIMBL projects being led by NC companies or academic institutions, and laboratory renovations necessary to carry out NIIMBL projects. These funds also helped to pay NIIMBL membership fees for small NC companies and community colleges. 33 different NC entities participate in NIIMBL, including 5 universities (ECU, NCCU, NC State, UNC-CH and UNC-W), 12 community colleges, 15 small- and medium-sized companies (4 in Wilmington, 10 in RTP and 1 in Charlotte), and 2 non-profit organizations. In the first six years of NIIMBL operations, NC members participated in projects totaling $25.6 million (federal funds, state funds and other member cost share) including $9.3M of federal funds received by NC entities. Of the $9.3 million federal project support, $7.8 million went to NC Universities, $1.4 million went to small and medium sized enterprises, and $100K went to NC non-profits. During the same six-year period, the $10 million in State cost share funds were utilized as follows: $5.5 million to NC Universities, $3.3 million for membership dues, travel awards, and program management, and $1.2 million for small and medium enterprises, community colleges, and non-profits. From 2017-2023, NC State University has received approximately $13.8 million in federal funding and $11.2 million in State cost share for project and operational expenditures.
The early support of the Kenan Institute for the BBDC program at BTEC played a key role in positioning BTEC to become a major player in biopharmaceutical manufacturing nationwide, and taking a leadership position within NIIMBL. NIIMBL has been expanded for another five years with a budget of $70 million from NIST, and an additional $83 million dollars from the ARP budget for COVID-19 related efforts. New efforts are under development in vaccine technologies, gene and cell therapy, applications of big data to biomanufacturing and process intensification and control.