ASTM International – a leader in standardisation and related areas – announced today that it will launch a global hub to support the burgeoning exoskeletons and exosuits industry. The winning Exo-Technologies Center of Excellence proposal will be supported with up to £196,000 annually for up to five years including funds and in-kind contributions.
“Now is the right time to create a hub of collaboration among startups, companies, and other entities that are exploring how exoskeletons could support factory workers, patients, the military, and many other people,” said ASTM International President Katharine Morgan. “We look forward to this new center serving as a catalyst for game-changing R&D, standardisation, related training, partnerships, and other efforts that help the world benefit from this exciting new technology.”
The center will build on the growth of ASTM International’s new committee (known as F48) that has started to publish technical standards for exoskeletons and exo-suits. In just two years, the group has launched six subcommittees involving about 150 members including large companies such as Boeing and BMW as well as startups, government agencies, and others (see this video for more).
Proposals for the new center of excellence will be scored on their potential to fill critical knowledge gaps, advance standardisation, establish linkages, engage key sectors, foster synergy among R&D stakeholders, and more.
Ultimately, ASTM International envisions that the new center of excellence will serve as a sponsor of innovative R&D, central repository of knowledge and talent, global hub for education and training, neutral forum to discuss common challenges, library of community resources, and coordinator of global partnership.
Proposals are welcome from R&D entities, universities, government agencies, and other stakeholders worldwide. Letters of intent are due June 27 with any questions due June 28. An informational webinar will follow July 2 for applicants, whose full proposals are due July 29. The winning proposal will be announced no earlier than September.
In addition to the RFP, frequently asked questions regarding the application and selection process can be found here.
This will be ASTM International’s second center of excellence, building on the success and momentum of the organisation’s Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence, established last year.