CHICAGO - (December 10, 2015) - Today, the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII), a UI LABS collaboration, announced the availability of up to $500,000 in project funding to solicit proposals for the creation of a Digital Manufacturing and Design “Specialization,” a suite of open online, on-demand courses leading to a certificate upon completion. DMDII is issuing a project call for courses that will be offered on Coursera, the largest provider of open online courses with over 16 million registered learners worldwide.

The Digital Manufacturing and Design (DM&D) Specialization will be free for access to the content or require a small fee in order to earn a DM&D Certificate. These courses will target a large audience of users, with a specific focus on students and existing engineers affected by the changes brought by digital manufacturing.

“As with all our programs, DMDII intends to bring together the best partners and the most qualified experts to help usher in this transformation sweeping American manufacturing,” said Dr. Dean Bartles, the Chief Manufacturing Officer at UI LABS and Executive Director of DMDII. “This Specialization will serve as the premier information tool for students and the current workforce looking to better understand digital manufacturing. Utilizing the Coursera platform, DMDII is partnering with a leading provider to reach out to a very large audience of interested learners.”

This collaboration represents advances in programming for both DMDII and Coursera. The Digital Manufacturing and Design Specialization will serve as a new addition to the Coursera platform, which currently offers a variety of courses on diverse topics for users.

“Coursera serves people who need the flexibility to mold their continued education around the constraints of their lives and their families,” said Daphne Koller, President and Co-Founder of Coursera. “DMDII’s Specialization in digital manufacturing will open access to high-quality, low-cost, and industry-relevant training that will open the talent pipeline to help manufacturing companies remain innovative and productive.”

This project call is part of a workforce development strategy endorsed by DMDII’s Workforce Development Advisory Committee, comprised of industry, academic, and government experts as well as the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and is intended to recruit subject matter experts at top universities and manufacturing companies to develop courses for the Coursera platform.

“We are excited to bring together leading minds and content providers to propose the best ways to teach digital manufacturing through our first competitive workforce development project call,” said Haley Stevens, Associate Director of Workforce Development and Education Outreach at DMDII. “As MOOCs have democratized learning and are accessible to all, the finished product will target the Institute’s vast network of stakeholders to participate in this learning opportunity.”

The Specialization, containing a targeted sequence of up to nine courses, will include 20 to 40 hours of lecture, as well as evaluation components, such as quizzes and tests. Course topics may include “Introduction to Digital Manufacturing & Design,” “Introduction to the Digital Thread,” and a focus on DMDII’s three research thrust areas: Advanced Analysis (AA), Intelligent Machining (IM), and Advanced Manufacturing Enterprise (AME).

“According to our research, there is great employee and employer interest in using MOOCs for training and professional development,” said Alexandria Walton Radford, Ph.D., a Program Director in Education and Workforce Development at RTI International. “While less than 10 percent have used MOOCs for professional development thus far, over two-thirds of human resources professionals we surveyed reported that they envision using them in the future. We are pleased to see DMDII capitalizing on this new technology and platform to package and impart much-desired skills and information.”

DMDII will hold a project call workshop available on January 14, 2016, to address project applicant questions and to catalyze the formation of project teams. Once applications are submitted, selections will be reviewed and subject to approval, with course offerings slated to come online in late 2016 or early 2017. The project call is open to all applicants, with membership in both DMDII and Coursera required upon being selected.

Complete information about the call for proposals, submission requirements, and workshop logistics may be found here.





UI LABS solves large-scale societal challenges by forming industry-driven consortia to accelerate the deployment of emerging technologies through collaboration. UI LABS is developing a portfolio of applied research and commercialization Labs that lead to a return on investment for its partners, improve local, regional and national competitiveness, and transform entire industries.

The Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) is UI LABS’ first Lab. DMDII is transforming American manufacturing to be the most competitive in the world through adoption of digital manufacturing technologies. Learn more at and


Coursera partners with over 130 top universities and educational institutions to offer hundreds of online courses and Specializations in topics from data science to business strategy to social psychology and beyond. Earn certificates from prestigious learning institutions for courses that teach the skills you need to succeed. Whether you want to advance your career or pursue a passion, Coursera provides open online education for everyone. For more information, visit