Tech Hubs program to boost innovation, manufacturing

October 27, 2023

As part of a broad effort to enhance the United States’ technological capabilities and global competitiveness, the Department of Commerce has designated 31 regions as tech hubs that will serve as epicenters for innovation, manufacturing and job creation.

The designations are part of the department’s Tech Hubs Program, an economic-development initiative that will help regional consortiums become global competitors in emerging technologies and industries. Designees will be able to share ideas with other hubs. Various government agencies will provide logistical, technical and financial support to the designees.

“The phase 1 designees and grant recipients reflect the diverse technological industries growing here at home and are symbols of American innovation and opportunity,” Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves said. “The Tech Hubs program will provide them tools and resources to drive economic growth across the nation.”

The 31 centers were chosen from 400 applicants that included industry experts, academia, government officials, economic development organizations, and labor and workforce partners. Each applicant outlined comprehensive plans for enhancing their region’s ability to manufacture, commercialize and deploy critical technologies.

In the next phase, the 31 centers will apply for $40 million to $70 million each to implement their plans. The Commerce Department of Commerce announced the notice of funding opportunity for the grants Oct. 23.

The designees are located across 32 states and Puerto Rico, and cover industries such as autonomous systems, quantum computing, biotechnology, precision medicine, clean energy advancement and semiconductor manufacturing.

For example, the University of Missouri Systems will lead a hub that will focus on converting minerals into materials needed for energy storage, including lithium-ion and primary-lead-acid batteries. The Critical Minerals and Materials for Advanced Energy Tech Hub will build on the region’s mineral-rich geography and expertise in hydrometallurgical refining.

The Ocean Tech Hub will serve Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It plans to develop, test and commercialize maritime artificial intelligence/machine learning-enabled robotics and sensors. The hub will use nearby coasts, including seven commercial ports, to test and manufacture prototypes. Rhode Island Commerce Corp. is leading the initiative.

The Gulf Louisiana Offshore Wind (GLOW) Propeller will be led by Louisiana State University. It seeks to transition Louisiana’s energy economy from oil and gas to offshore wind and renewable energy. Specifically, it will work to create a domestic offshore wind supply chain and generate thousands of jobs.

Additionally, the Commerce Department awarded 29 Strategy Development Grants that will help communities coordinate plans to develop emerging technologies. Eleven Tech Hub designees also received these grants.

Government Market News Staff

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