Saturday, May 22, 2021

Carnegie Mellon, Richard King Mellon Foundation Announce Historic Partnership To Accelerate CMU’s Science & Technology Leadership And Transformation Of Hazelwood Green

On May 20,
Carnegie Mellon University and the Richard King Mellon Foundation announced that the two long-time partners will together make a transformational investment in science and technology leadership at the university; in a more vibrant future for the Hazelwood neighborhood; and in Pittsburgh's ongoing economic renaissance.

The Foundation has approved a $150 million grant to CMU — the largest single grant in the Foundation's 74-year history. 

The first $75 million is the lead gift for a new cutting-edge science building on the CMU campus in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh. 

The second $75 million will seed a new robotics innovation center and an institute focused on advanced materials and manufacturing at Hazelwood Green — a former riverside steel mill site that will attract the jobs and industries of the new economy, while enabling development of a true mixed-use destination that will be a positive and inclusive part of Hazelwood.

"Pittsburgh's future — and the future of U.S. innovation and global competitiveness — are inextricably linked to scientific and technological advances, and how well organizations, communities and industries can stay ahead of the rapid pace of change. Carnegie Mellon is positioned at the forefront of science and innovation's great promise, and this visionary grant will fuel the research and activities that will build this exciting future," said Farnam Jahanian, CMU president. "The entire CMU community joins me in thanking the Richard King Mellon Foundation for this extraordinary grant and for its faith that CMU will continue to enhance the Mellon family's legacy of investment in science, technology and industry. This is yet another example of the Foundation's visionary leadership delivering incalculable benefits to the Pittsburgh region and to the nation."

"This historic investment will help Pittsburgh to control its economic destiny and to reassert its rightful place as the national leader in the most important industries of today and tomorrow, with access to everyone who wants to be part of the story," said Sam Reiman, director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation. "The Hazelwood community has been waiting for more than 18 years, since the J&L mill closed, for the site to become a source of jobs once again. And this past year reinforced the importance of local manufacturing to a healthy region. This historic investment is the first of many steps to achieve our vision of making Pittsburgh a global leader in advanced and additive manufacturing, robotics, and the creation of technology jobs that are accessible to the entire community."

This latest chapter in the decades-long relationship between the two organizations represents a significant acceleration of activity in three fields that have been key to Pittsburgh's 21st century renaissance and are central to CMU's future — the sciences, advanced manufacturing and robotics. 

The grant will be paid over multiple years, and when fully realized, these three initiatives will fuel cross-disciplinary entrepreneurial ecosystems for research and innovation that will spark discoveries, transform industries, attract businesses to the region, and support the creation of high-tech jobs and startup companies — with training and education opportunities for people in Hazelwood and other communities that too often have been left as bystanders to such opportunity.

The Richard King Mellon Foundation and Carnegie Mellon have a rich history of partnering on significant projects since the 1960s. 

This support has included grants to establish CMU's School of Urban and Public Affairs, now Heinz College; to create the university's Department of Computer Science, now the School of Computer Science; to accelerate research in the life sciences and energy; and to spark a renaissance in the next generation of manufacturing research. 

With the current grant, the Foundation's support for CMU, including personal gifts from its founders, is nearly $300 million over the years.

A New Home for Science at CMU

Carnegie Mellon has launched a decade-long comprehensive future of science initiative to embrace these new paradigms and accelerate the university's leadership in scientific discovery, including investments in recruiting and retaining faculty, and developing state-of-the-art research and education infrastructure. 

The cornerstone of this initiative will be a new, cutting-edge $210 million science building on its Pittsburgh campus, which is made possible by a $75 million lead grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation. 

The facility, due to rise on Forbes Avenue adjacent to the Carnegie Museums in the Oakland neighborhood, will facilitate collaborative research and education spanning multiple fields across the university.

The facility will be designed for open collaboration, and to inspire unanticipated intersections of ideas. In addition to classrooms, teaching labs and other spaces, student and faculty researchers will have access to modern labs that are purposefully designed to be shared. 

The building will complement the university's simultaneous $40 million investment in the nation's first academic cloud laboratory that will feature highly automated, remote-controlled robotic instruments for experimentation and data collection. 

The groundbreaking cloud lab's capabilities will quickly advance discoveries, as well as democratize science by expanding researcher and student access to invaluable equipment.

CMU at Hazelwood Green

The Richard King Mellon Foundation is partnering with The Heinz Endowments and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation — a partnership known as Almono, the name reflecting Pittsburgh's three rivers — on the long-term redevelopment of Hazelwood Green, the site of a former steel mill that is being transformed into a center for innovation and economic development. 

The vision for the site is inclusive of the local community, with a focus on sustainability, equity and inclusive economic opportunity. 

In 2019, propelled by $20 million in funding from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, Carnegie Mellon's Manufacturing Futures Initiative and the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute, a public-private partnership driving a new era of U.S. industry innovation, became the first tenants at the site's iconic Mill 19, a high-tech building built within the shell of the defunct mill.

Hazelwood Green has been a vital component of Carnegie Mellon's continued leadership in advanced and additive manufacturing. 

The university will build on this foundation to synergistically expand the ecosystem there through two significant projects focused on translational research: the expansion of CMU's groundbreaking research in the digital transformation of manufacturing through the Manufacturing Futures Institute, and the construction of a new Robotics Innovation Center.

The Richard King Mellon Foundation's lead support of both will allow the university to invest in rapidly developing areas. 

Over the next 10 years, robotics, artificial intelligence, and advanced materials and manufacturing are forecast to grow at double-digit rates, and their total market size will likely exceed $2 trillion by 2030. 

Leveraging Hazelwood Green as the new hub for these technologies will link economic development in Pittsburgh to the rapid growth of these areas. 

In addition to generating new momentum for the university's industry partnerships, these initiatives will attract future research facilities and additional resources for community initiatives with significant benefit across the Pittsburgh region.

Robotics Innovation Center

Over the past 10 years alone, robotics research expenditures at CMU have nearly doubled, and are expected to double again over the next decade. 

The $45 million lead grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation will enable CMU to further expand its robotics research capacity with a new facility, the Robotics Innovation Center (RIC), at Hazelwood Green. 

The RIC, which is estimated to cost more than $100 million and will add up to 150,000 square feet of space to CMU's robotic research capabilities, will further create synergies by complementing and accelerating the work by the nearby Manufacturing Futures Institute at Mill 19, where researchers will be able to deploy new ideas within its test beds. 

As a new translational research facility, the RIC will complement the work of CMU's National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC).

The new facility will provide CMU robotics researchers with spaces that will allow them to bridge the stages of foundational research, integration, iteration and commercialization to ensure discoveries can be translated into real-world technologies. 

Envisioned for the building are reconfigurable high bays, multiple testing facilities including a unique large-footprint testing area, and flexible spaces that address robotics systems at different scales. 

The facility is expected to include pre-incubator space for the next generation of CMU-affiliated robotics companies.

Manufacturing Futures Institute

The Richard King Mellon Foundation's $30 million commitment in advanced and additive manufacturing at CMU builds on its previous philanthropic support in this area and allows the university to expand its work through the Manufacturing Futures Institute (MFI). 

As an institute, MFI will be a permanent organization with the long-term vision and funding to address the complex challenges facing U.S. and global manufacturing and to enhance economic development. 

Half of the grant will create an endowment to sustain the MFI in perpetuity.

Among the Manufacturing Futures Institute's goals will be to develop state-of-the-art advanced materials and manufacturing equipment and processes, such as additive manufacturing; build collaborations between CMU researchers, industry and government organizations; fuel entrepreneurship through startups and spinoff companies; strengthen the ecosystem for technology transfer to industry partners; and expand high-tech workforce training for the Pittsburgh region's residents. 

MFI will intentionally partner not just with large manufacturing corporations, but also small and medium-sized regional businesses. CMU expects the institute will catalyze more than $200 million in research activities in the coming decade.

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 nearly $1.67 billion in support of the university.

(Photo:  Hazelwood Green, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)


PG: Grant From Richard King Mellon Foundation To Fund CMU Science Building, Robotics Center At Hazelwood Green

[Posted: May 22, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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