Three communities in New England are among 31 across the country that will be designated Tech Hubs, the Biden administration announced Monday, as the federal government seeks to expand economic opportunity and technological innovation into a greater variety of regions.
More than 370 applicants from 49 states and four territories applied to be designated as Regional Innovation and Technology Hubs through the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, according to a statement from the White House.
Among the designations selected are the Ocean Tech Hub based in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, the ReGen Valley Tech Hub in New Hampshire, and the Forest Bioproducts Advanced Manufacturing Tech Hub in Maine, the statement said.
“The Tech Hubs will bring the benefits and opportunities of scientific and technological innovation to communities across the country, with nearly three-quarters significantly benefitting small and rural areas and more than three-quarters directly supporting historically underserved communities,” the statement said.
“The Tech Hubs all include workforce organizations such as labor unions, helping create good-paying, union jobs in the communities where workers live.”
The Ocean Tech Hub in Massachusetts and Rhode Island will be led by the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and will aim to “develop, test, and commercialize emerging maritime artificial intelligence and machine learning-enabled robotics and sensors,” the White House said.
Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey said the Ocean Tech Hub proposal “will capitalize on Southeastern New England’s blue tech innovation leadership that spans sectors like commercial fishing, maritime defense, and clean energy.”
“This national award will drive increased collaboration between our leading research institutions, top-tier universities, and groundbreaking companies while also benefiting coastal communities in our state,” Healey said in a statement.
In New Hampshire, the ReGen Valley Tech Hub will be led by the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute and will set out “to make New Hampshire a global leader in biofabrication to produce cost-effective regenerative therapies that address chronic disease and organ failure.”
Members of New Hampshire’s all-Democratic congressional delegation praised the Biden administration’s decision to include the state. US Senator Maggie Hasan said the work being done with biofabrication in Manchester, N.H., “has the potential to be a game changer for how we manage chronic diseases and traumatic injuries.”
“This designation now makes ReGen Valley eligible to compete for additional federal funding to implement its vision to become the world’s biofabrication leader,” US Senator Jeanne Shaheen said in a statement.
The Forest Bioproducts Advanced Manufacturing Tech Hub in Maine will be led by the Maine Technology Institute and aim to “become a global leader in forest-based biomaterial production and manufacturing by innovating the process of extracting biological building blocks to manufacture environmentally sustainable products,” the White House said.
The Tech Hubs program is part of the CHIPS and Science Act that President Biden signed in August 2022. The administration said the program is intended to spread the benefits of technological innovation to communities beyond the coastal cities that tech companies have long been associated with.
The White House said the hubs will “catalyze investment in technologies critical to economic growth, national security, and job creation, and will help communities across the country become centers of innovation critical to American competitiveness.”