EDA Tech Hubs

EDA’s Tech Hubs Program: A Consortium-Approach to Regional Growth

Unleash the potential of your region's innovation ecosystem as a newly designated Tech Hub, fostering collaboration and driving economic development through the groundbreaking Tech Hubs Program

Exciting news for regional innovation ecosystem builders: the Economic Development Administration (EDA) has launched the much-anticipated Regional Technology and Innovation Hub (Tech Hubs) Program!

What’s the headline? Millions of dollars up for grabs in initial funding for 20 newly designated Tech Hubs across the country along with hundreds of millions more available in a Phase 2.

Plus – a chance to put your region on the map as America’s Next Top Tech Hub™!

In this blog post, we will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the program, funding allocation details, application timelines, eligibility criteria, and the crucial role that EcoMap Technologies can play in supporting your Tech Hubs Program application.

Let’s dive in!

Understanding the Tech Hubs Program

The Tech Hubs Program, authorized by the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act, is a strategic initiative designed to ensure that future industries and their jobs thrive within the United States. By making place-based investments in regions with the assets, resources, and potential for global competitiveness, the program aims to accelerate innovation and drive economic and national security. It focuses on critical technologies and industries that can contribute to long-term growth.

Allocation of Funding

The Tech Hubs Program offers two phases of funding opportunities. Phase 1 involves designating promising Tech Hubs and providing strategy development awards to facilitate their growth. Approximately $15 million of the total $500 million available will be utilized for designations and strategy development awards for 20 hubs. Designated Tech Hubs will be eligible to apply for Phase 2 implementation awards, which will further support their progress towards becoming globally competitive.

Eligibility Criteria

No solo applicants allowed – this is a team game.

Only consortia, comprising various entities within a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), are eligible to apply for the Tech Hubs Program. Some types of entities are required to be apart of the application team while others are optional. Each consortium will have to define a single lead member organization for the application process.

Required Orgs (one of these must be the lead)

  • Institutions of higher education, which may include Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges or Universities, and Minority-Serving Institutions;
  • State, territorial, local, or Tribal governments or other political subdivisions of a State, including State and local agencies, or a consortium thereof;
  • Industry groups or firms in relevant technology, innovation, or manufacturing sectors;
  • Economic development organizations or similar entities that are focused primarily on improving science, technology, innovation, entrepreneurship, or access to capital; and
  • Labor organizations or workforce training organizations, which may include State and local workforce development boards.

Optional Orgs

  • Economic development entities with relevant expertise, including a district organization;
  • Organizations that contribute to increasing the participation of underserved populations in science, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship;
  • Venture development organizations;
  • Organizations that promote local economic stability, high-wage domestic jobs, and broad-based economic opportunities, such as employee ownership membership associations and State or local employee ownerships and cooperative development centers, financial institutions and investment funds, including community development financial institutions and minority depository institutions;
  • Elementary schools and secondary schools, including area career and technical education schools;
  • National Laboratories;
  • Federal laboratories;
  • Manufacturing extension centers;
  • Manufacturing USA Institutes;
  • Transportation planning organizations;
  • Cooperative extension services;
  • Organizations that represent the perspectives of underserved communities in economic development initiatives; and
  • Institutions receiving an award under the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Regional Innovation Engines program.

MSA Definition

EDA defines a Hub’s geography as a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) or a similar area (including Micropolitan Statistical Areas (μSAs) or tightly interconnected combinations of MSAs and/or μSAs) with a concentration of assets, capital, R&D, labor markets, and infrastructure strongly relevant to the Hub’s selected core technology area, the Hub’s identified market opportunity, and its potential to become globally competitive in that area within a decade. Applicants should identify their chosen geography as part of their application.

In order to learn more about what MSA or μSA you pertain to, check out this info provided by Census.gov

Application Timelines

Phase 1 applications for the Tech Hubs Program opened in early May 2023 and has an August 15 deadline. The EDA is expected to release the Phase 2 application later this Fall, where the 20 selected Tech Hubs will have the opportunity to earn even more funding for their outlined initiatives around 10 Key Technology Focus Areas (KTFAs).

What are those 10 Key Technology Focus Areas (KTFAs)?

The list of ten critical technologies is drawn from the initial KTFAs in the CHIPS and Science Act. The applying consortium may select a core technology area that falls within a single KTFA or crosses multiple KTFAs where the Hub has the potential to become within a reasonable time a self-sustaining, globally competitive leader in that selected core technology area’s market. These KTFAs include:

  1. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, autonomy, and related advances.
  2. High performance computing, semiconductors, and advanced computer hardware and software.
  3. Quantum information science and technology.
  4. Robotics, automation, and advanced manufacturing.
  5. Natural and anthropogenic disaster prevention or mitigation.
  6. Advanced communications technology and immersive technology.
  7. Biotechnology, medical technology, genomics, and synthetic biology.
  8. Data storage, data management, distributed ledger technologies, and cybersecurity, including biometrics.
  9. Advanced energy and industrial efficiency technologies, such as batteries and advanced nuclear technologies, including but not limited to for the purposes of electric generation.
  10. Advanced materials science, including composites 2D materials, other next-generation materials, and related manufacturing technologies.

Engaging Underserved and Underrepresented Communities

The Tech Hubs Program recognizes the importance of diversity and inclusion in driving innovation and economic growth. Successful applicants will be expected to pursue specific strategies to increase the diversity, accessibility, and equity of the innovation economy. This includes active engagement of underserved communities and populations in planning processes, with a focus on geographic diversity that spans both rural and urban areas.

Leveraging EcoMap Technologies

As you prepare your Tech Hubs Program application, keep EcoMap in mind. EcoMap Technologies allows you to map and visualize your regional innovation assets, assess coordination and planning activities, and demonstrate the potential of your ecosystem. This is a critical foundational step to understanding what you have – and importantly – what is still missing. As your innovation ecosystem is sure to grow each day, EcoMap will help you continue to make sense of all the key players and resources available across your KTFAs.

Conclusion

The Tech Hubs Program presents an extraordinary opportunity for ecosystem builders, institutions of higher education, government agencies, industry groups, and economic development organizations to shape the future of innovation and economic growth in their regions. As the application window for Phase 1 draws closer, it’s time to start forging connections and preparing your application. By leveraging EcoMap Technologies and its powerful ecosystem mapping capabilities, you can identify strategic partnerships, map out your regional assets, and demonstrate the potential of your ecosystem to become a globally competitive Tech Hub.

Additional Resources

If you’re interested in exploring what EcoMap could do for you ahead of the August 15 application deadline, book a time through our calendar below:

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