KIETS Director Ruben G. Carbonell is one of the lead investigators of 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 $70M collaborative agreement over five years from the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), an institute that is part of the Department of Commerce.
In 2019, $2 million in State funds were allocated to pay Institute membership fees for six NC-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs; A1 Biochem Labs, AccuGenomics, Lindy Biosciences, Redbud Labs, SeaTox Research, and SoyMeds) and to provide additional cost share for NIIMBL projects carried out in NC. A new laboratory was constructed in BTEC to facilitate NIIMBL technology and workforce development projects. To date, NC universities and companies have been awarded $6.9 million from NIIMBL, $3.6 million from State cost share, and $3.3 million in cost share from industry and other partners. NC State received two large grants from NIIMBL with special funding allocated to NIST for the COVID-19 response. One grant went to the Nonwovens Institute to produce N95 and surgical masks as well as to develop novel, more efficient masks for future pandemics. A second grant went to the College of Management under the direction of Rob Handfield to develop a supply chain analysis for COVID-19 testing. Total funding for these two grants was approximately $1.5 million.