UPDATE: Feds pick Indiana as biotech hub, putting it in running for millions in funding

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Now that Indiana has been chosen by the U.S. Department of Commerce for a federal technology hub, the Hoosier state will be eligible to compete against 30 other designated hubs in hopes of landing up to $70 million in federal funding to implement its program.

Five to 10 of the 31 “Tech Hub Designees” will be awarded grants ranging from $40 million to $70 million, with the winners set to be announced by the end of the year.

The White House said the hubs are designed to help communities across the country become centers of innovation. President Joe Biden is scheduled to make a formal announcement about the designations at 2:15 p.m. Monday.

“I have to say, in my entire career in public service, I have never seen as much interest in any initiative than this one,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told reporters during a Sunday conference call, where she announced that the government received 400 applications.

The $500 million for the formally named Regional Technology and Innovation Hub Program came from a $10 billion authorization in last year’s CHIPS and Science Act to stimulate investments in new technologies such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing and biotech. It’s an attempt to expand tech investment that is largely concentrated in a few U.S. cities—Austin, Texas; Boston; New York; San Francisco; and Seattle—to the rest of the country.

The initiative ties into President Joe Biden’s economic argument that people should be able to find good jobs where they live and that opportunity should be spread across the country, rather than be concentrated. The White House has sought to elevate that message and highlight Biden’s related policies as the Democratic president undertakes his 2024 reelection bid.

“These Tech 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,” the White House said Monday in an emailed statement.

The 31 tech hubs reach Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Montana, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Virginia, New Hampshire, Missouri, Kansas, Maryland, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Minnesota, Louisiana, Idaho, Wyoming, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, New York, Nevada, Missouri, Oregon, Vermont, Ohio, Maine, Washington and Puerto Rico.

Each hub is focused on a core technology area.  While Indiana’s tech hub will focus on biotechnology, other cities will focus on tech sectors ranging from robotics and  artificial intelligence to quantum computing and alternative energy.

Indiana’s winning application was submitted by Heartland Bioworks—a consortium of Hoosier entities that includes colleges and universities, industry groups and some of the state’s largest employers. The hub will be based in the Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson metropolitan statistical area.

Heartland Bioworks will initially focus on three initiatives that address “biotechnology, medical technology, genomics and synthetic biology,” including a training institute at the 16 Tech Innovation District in Indianapolis that will provide training and industry work experience in the biomanufacturing sector. The group also plans to provide biotech companies with the tools to access manufacturers and distributors, as well as access to a partner facility that can be used to test new technologies.

Heartland Bioworks is headed by Applied Research Institute, or ARI, a Bloomington-based not-for-profit.

“The Economic Development Administration, with this designation, confirms what we here in Indiana have known for a long time—that the Hoosier state is a global pioneer in biotech production,” ARI CEO Dave Roberts said in written remarks. “Heartland BioWorks is securing America’s biotech future, and this Hub will provide biotech startups with access to manufacturing facilities and expertise, implement the workforce training future biotech innovations require, and focus on engaging innovators in historically economically disadvantaged communities.”

The designation could also lead to millions of dollars in federal investments and “open the floodgates for more private capital in biotech research and development across the state,” said Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., a co-author of the CHIPS, or Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors, Act.

The news was met with widespread praise by Hoosier leaders including Gov. Eric Holcomb, Eli Lilly and Co. CEO Dave Ricks, Purdue University President Mung Chiang and IU President Pamela Whitten, who called it “a crucial step” to developing Indiana’s life sciences sector.

“This is just the news we hoped to receive,” Gov. Holcomb said in written remarks. “Indiana has a rich tradition of innovation and leadership in both manufacturing and life science sectors. We‘ll continue to strongly support the Hub and look forward to moving forward in the competitive process.”

This is Indiana’s third tech hub designation since the CHIPS Act was passed last year.

A coalition including Indiana, Illinois and Michigan was one of seven selected by the Biden Administration for $1 billion in grant funding for the Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen, or MachH2, which consists of more than 70 Midwest public and private organizations.

Last month, Indiana was one of eight states selected by the U.S. Department of Defense for a hub focused on supporting domestic production of microelectronics, semiconductor manufacturing and other advanced technologies.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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6 thoughts on “UPDATE: Feds pick Indiana as biotech hub, putting it in running for millions in funding

    1. I’ve always said that Indiana often got overlooked and is probably the most underrated state in America. For its size compared to California, Texas, Florida and even Ohio and Illinois, indiana punch way above its weight with its universities, manufacturing, tech scene, pharmaceutical industry ect

    2. Kevin P.
      +1

      I’ve always said that Indianapolis and the state had to much of an aw shucks
      attitude when trying to sell ourselves to the world. We were to humble.

      We must walk and talk with swagger like Texas. Indianapolis and the state
      have a lot of selling points.

  1. This is another outstanding byproduct of the sophisticated public-private leadership between the state and its corporations. Senator Young has shown that we still have politicians interested in bi-partisan policy making that creates a competitive climate for the country and Indiana. More important now than ever.

    We must make sure that these cutting edge technology opportunities are deliberately channeled to those parts of our communities with little to no access.

  2. This is great news for Indianapolis and the state overall.
    Congrats to the leadership that helped make this happen.

    However, we MUST never rest on our laurels. We must continue to innovate and fight ever harder to compete & win.

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