Grant for Biohealth Research and Workforce Training

Dr. Sparks working with lab equipmentNew research on additive manufacturing (3D printing) is progressing thanks to a grant from the Ohio Department of Higher Education. Miami University, as a member of the Southwest Ohio Regional Consortia, is sharing a $1 million grant through the RAPIDS (Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills) program.

Miami’s portion of the grant, $381,856, will be used to purchase state-of-the-art full-color additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D scanning equipment and instrumentation.

The project will expand training opportunities in AM, with a focus on the high-growth biohealth industry. 

Benefits to Miami include expanded technical training in AM applications for engineering students on the Oxford and regional campuses. In addition, the equipment will be used by Miami engineering faculty to create new products that Miami nursing faculty will use to enhance training for nurses and other biohealth workers. 

Approximately 200 engineering students and 80 nursing students will be trained each year, and more than 600 biohealth workers will be directly impacted by this work.

The grant will be managed by a cross-functional team led by Jessica Sparks, associate professor in chemical, paper, and biomedical engineering. Collaborating faculty include:

  • Kevin Messner, associate librarian and acting head of the B.E.S.T. (Business, Engineering, Science and Tech) Library.
  • Deborah Beyer, associate professor in nursing.
  • Brenda Barnes, director of Miami’s Nursing Resource Centers.
  • Jason Berberich, assistant professor in chemical, paper, and biomedical engineering.
  • Bo Brinkman, associate professor in computer science and software engineering.
  • Karthik Vishwanath, assistant professor in physics.

Regional campus partners will be led by Ayodele Abatan, professor and chair, engineering technology. Jim Oris, associate provost and chair in academic affairs, coordinated the consortium submission.

Through the RAPIDS investment for Southwest Ohio, Miami’s campuses in Oxford, Hamilton, and Middletown, University of Cincinnati (main campus and UC Clermont) and Cincinnati State Technical & Community College, four regional Ohio Career Centers, TechSolve, REDI Cincinnati, and a group of industry partners will develop a regional workforce capacity at multiple levels in additive and advanced manufacturing, with a focus on the aerospace and biohealth industries.

An analysis by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Bureau of Labor Market Information done last June indicates significant growth in jobs and demand for skilled workers in southwest Ohio in the additive and advanced manufacturing and related occupations for aerospace and biohealth industries.