Five leading research and academic institutions were awarded a total of $2.84 million in grants by the fund for their work focused on innovations in textile manufacturing. The 2015 Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund grant winners are:
- Clemson University for energy and effluent reduction through innovative dyeing of polyester fabrics
- Oregon State University for environmentally conscious dyeing of fabrics using continuous digital printing and drying of biopigment inks
- University of Texas at Austin for on-loom fabric defect inspection using contact image sensors
- North Carolina State University for developing a non-stop tying-in process/approach to improve weaving efficiency
- Cornell University for recycling post-consumer textile waste and a raw material substitute for new textiles
The fund, which focuses on the development of domestic manufacturing with a specific goal of advancing the production or assembly of consumer products in the U.S., will provide a total of $10 million in grants over the next five years. Read more about the grant's latest milestone in Walmart's unprecedented $250 billion domestic manufacturing commitment. Learn more about the grant winners announced in 2014.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund?
Innovation is part of the heart and soul of Walmart. Before it was a buzzword, Walmart has had an unwavering commitment to innovation in its approach to business, leadership and focus on the customer. The Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund is a partnership between Walmart, the Walmart Foundation and the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM). The Fund is focused on the development of U.S. manufacturing, with a specific goal of making it both easier and more competitive to make household goods in the U.S.
- Why is the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund important?
Walmart is committed to American renewal and has announced it will buy an additional $250 billion in U.S.-made products over the next 10 years in an effort to grow and expand U.S. manufacturing and encourage the creation of U.S. jobs. By making production in the U.S. more cost effective and efficient, Walmart can bring its customers an increased number of U.S.-made products and manufacturers can create more jobs in America. Together, these commitments represent a significant investment that will help accelerate U.S. manufacturing.
- How will the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund achieve this goal?
Funding research in the manufacturing space in focus areas identified as major challenges is another way Walmart can facilitate and accelerate U.S. manufacturing. The Fund will achieve this goal through grants that directly support applied research projects advancing innovative solutions to key challenges that, once addressed, can lower the cost of making consumer products in the U.S.
- Who is eligible to receive funding from the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund?
The Fund looks primarily at the following criteria: (1) impact on consumer product manufacturing, (2) stage of development and commercial viability, (3) degree of innovation, and (4) ability of the organization and team to successfully carry out the proposed project. Specific eligibility requirements are as follows:
- Only U.S. 501(c)(3) organizations and public universities that are instrumentalities of a state government are eligible for funding at this time*
- At least 50% of project teams must be based in the U.S.
- Project teams should seek sponsorship from the mayor of a USCM mayor when submitting full project proposals
- Proposed projects should address a technological innovation that can advance U.S. manufacturing. For the current RFP, we are seeking to support projects reducing the cost of producing textiles and apparel in the U.S. More specifically, we are seeking projects that address:
- Fabric dyeing
- Cut and sew
- Projects must have a budget exceeding $100,000 per year
- Overhead costs must not exceed 10% of total project budget
- Prospective grantees should demonstrate an ability to conduct the proposed product via expertise and/or past experience
The Fund is currently not awarding grants for building or capital projects, supplier agreements, or other non-research projects. Individuals, municipalities and other government entities, political organizations and current or potential Walmart suppliers are ineligible for funding.