On October 23, 2023, the US Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced the designation of 31 Tech Hubs across the country as part of the 2022 CHIPS and Science Act. In addition to the Tech Hub designation, the EDA awarded Strategic Development Grants (SDGs) to 29 consortia, including 11 of the Tech Hubs. These funds will support ongoing coordination and planning to position the consortia for potential future funding. Aimed at making the US more globally competitive and strengthening national security, the Tech Hubs program represents a significant investment in a wide range of technology-heavy industries, such as quantum computing, clean energy, life sciences, and semiconductor manufacturing. By building out essential systems and processes, this investment aims to expand critical research, jobs, and capital here at home.
The EDA selected the designees—representing 32 states and Puerto Rico—from a pool of nearly 400 Phase I applications submitted by regional consortia comprised of government, academia, private industry, economic development organizations, and workforce partners. Representing both urban and rural communities, the winning regions are poised to drive innovation and commercialization and to prepare the requisite labor force that will support the nation’s next-generation economy. The complete list of Tech Hubs, organized by focus area, can be found here.
The list includes many TIP clients directly and indirectly. TIP is currently working with the Greater Baltimore Committee, which is leading the Tech Hub in Central Maryland. This consortium seeks to leverage the region’s research universities and institutions, research and development expertise, and capital investments to apply artificial intelligence to biotechnologies. Using an “equi-tech” model, the Baltimore Tech Hub will develop and commercialize predictive healthcare technologies to personalize medicine and bioethics, thus improving equitable care delivery and health outcomes.
Miami-Dade County was part of four-county area announced as a Tech Hub. The region’s designation as the South Florida Climate Resilience Tech Hub will help shape TIP’s strategic planning work with the Miami-Dade Beacon Council. Led by the County’s Innovation and Economic Development Office, the Tech Hub will help leverage the region’s resources, industry strengths, and academic and research institutions to scale Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure (SRI). The focus will be on enhancing climate adaptation and mitigation through SRI innovation.
In addition to Baltimore and Miami-Dade, the Tech Hubs designees and SDG recipients encompass metropolitan areas (New Orleans, Indianapolis, Chicago, Anchorage, San Antonio, Richmond, Kansas City, and Spokane) and multi-county regions and states (North Central Texas, Delaware, Mississippi, and Montana) where TIP has conducted strategy work. TIP congratulates all the awardees and looks forward to following their continued efforts.
On the heels of the Tech Hubs announcement, the EDA published its formal Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for Phase 2 of the program, totaling $500 million in federal funding. Designees can apply for Implementation Grants between $40 million and $70 million each to help catalyze their planning efforts into action. Phase 2 awards will enable the regions to “demonstrate, deploy, and commercialize innovative technology products and services across four broad categories: workforce development, business and entrepreneur development, technology maturation, and infrastructure.” With the fast-approaching deadline of February 29, 2024, the Tech Hubs will need to leverage the capacity and resources of their institutional consortia members to generate comprehensive and competitive applications demonstrating their need for maximum grant dollars.
The Tech Hubs program is an historic opportunity—one of a lengthy list of federal funding mechanisms issued by the current administration that includes the American Rescue Plan Act ($350 billion), the Inflation Reduction Act ($500 billion), and the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act ($1.2 trillion). Given this level of public investment, having an updated strategic plan that highlights unique assets and catalogs major opportunities is an essential step for communities, regions, and states looking to position their area for future federal funding initiatives.