NSF Engines Development Award: Advancing Carbon Centric Circular Economy Technologies for Advanced Manufacturing Solutions (KY, TN) - Generating Advanced Manufacturing Excellence for Change (GAME Change) for the Southeastern Commerce Corridor

Grants and Contracts Details


GAME Change – Type-1 Proposal – Project Description Overview, Vision and Rationale There is no region in the country that is in higher need of new economic resiliency from a knowledge economy than the Appalachian region. In fact, 65 out of the 106 Appalachian counties in Kentucky (KY) and Tennessee (TN) are economically distressed, Traditional attempts to bring new job opportunities to this region have not exhibited economic “stickiness” as they have not been based on knowledge economy capacities. Figure 1. Distressed Appalachia. Meanwhile, manufacturing waste, industrial energy use, and an unreliable supply chain threaten our environment and U.S. global economic competitiveness. It is daunting that 97% of global waste is produced by industry.[1] In fact, manufacturers are now producing $8 trillion of waste [2]. At the same time, manufacturing accounts for a third of all U.S. energy consumption, with transportation accounting for another 25%.[3] On top of these environmental issues, the global innovation economy has grown fiercely competitive, and supply chain challenges threaten to weaken U.S. economic independence. Global container shipping rates have more than quadrupled since 2019, and rate spikes and schedule delays in the U.S. are amongst the highest and most frequent in the world.[4] Figure 2. Manufacturing Concentration in the U.S. The eastern half of the US has the heaviest concentration of domestic manufacturing facilities.[5] Kentucky (KY) and Tennessee (TN) are in the heart of the manufacturing hub and, as a result, the supply chain activity. As estimated by the Federal Highway Administration, KY and TN are two of only five states in the country that will have more than 10,000,000 tons of interstate freight pass through them in 2040.[6] Figure 3. Freight Flows by 2040: FHWA. With this concentration of manufacturing and supply chain activity, KY and TN are rich in manufacturing talent and assets - as well as in world- class university research in energy, next generation manufacturing (NGM) and logistics - but severely lacking in knowledge economy outcomes from an innovation ecosystem, leaving large communities of its region without economic resiliency, including Appalachia. By recognizing that industrial waste, industrial energy usage, and industrial supply chain inefficiencies are connected through the knowledge economy, the game- changing initiative proposed herein will build a resilient circular economy for the people of this region by advancing innovations in next generation manufacturing across the many industries found in the region. GAME Change Vision Powered by the Generating Advanced Manufacturing Excellence for Change (GAME Change) Engine (“Engine”), by 2034 the Southeast Commerce Corridor (SCC) of KY and TN will be a global leader in next generation manufacturing (NGM) and supply chain innovation for the circular economy, supported by an inclusive and diverse workforce. More than 65% of the relevant regional workforce will have attained higher education credentialing, $2.5B in venture capital under management will be positioned for localized net wealth generation supporting a pipeline of new technology companies, industry R&D related to NGM and supply chain logistics will rank in the top quartile of states in the country, significant waste and more than 30 million metric tons of CO2 per year will be reduced from SCC manufacturing, and thousands of equitably distributed knowledge jobs will be produced.
Effective start/end date5/15/234/30/25


  • National Science Foundation: $1,000,000.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.