The US Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has launched the application process for $50 million in grants to help manufacturers respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Using funds authorized by the CARES Act signed by President Trump last month, NIST will issue awards to Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico for COVID-19-related projects.
Through a formal Request for Applications, NIST MEP centers may apply for a portion of nearly $50 million allocated to support new projects, which will not require matching nonfederal funds. Successful applications will allow MEP centers to help manufacturers recover from workforce and supply chain interruptions; apply for private insurance claims and disaster loans from the Small Business Administration; and access resources at the federal, state and local level.
MEP centers may also use the funds to assess the operating needs of manufacturers, scout for manufacturers that can produce critically needed medical equipment and supplies and organize peer-to-peer manufacturing councils.
The amount of individual center funding is determined by the number of manufacturers in their market. Centers will receive a link to a grants.gov page where they can submit their applications, which will be accepted on a rolling basis. The opportunity will remain open until funding is no longer available or when NIST determines it is no longer required.