The Biden-Harris administration, through the US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), announced the designation of 31 Tech Hubs in regions across the country, including the PRBio Tech Hub in Puerto Rico. This is the first phase of the new Tech Hubs program, which is an economic development initiative designed to drive regional innovation and job creation by strengthening a region’s capacity to manufacture, commercialize, and deploy technology that will advance American competitiveness. The program invests directly in burgeoning, high-potential US regions and aims to transform them into globally competitive innovation centers.
Tech Hubs was authorized by the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act, a key part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, which he signed into law in August 2022.
These Tech Hubs are located across 32 states and Puerto Rico and represent a cross-section of urban and rural regions. The designation is an endorsement of the region’s plans to supercharge their respective technological industries to create jobs, strengthen US competitiveness, and protect national security. The Tech Hubs announced today focus on industries ranging from autonomous systems, quantum computing, biotechnology, precision medicine, clean energy advancement, semiconductor manufacturing, and more, and highlight how the Biden-Harrisq Administration is investing in innovation and economic growth in every region of the United States.
The PRBio Tech Hub, led by the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, aims to advance the region as a global leader in biotechnology through fast-tracking the discovery, development, manufacturing, and supply of next-generation biotechnology and medical device products to detect, treat, and cure diseases and ailments. For decades, Puerto Rico has been known as the “Medicine Cabinet of the United States,” home to many of the world’s top-grossing pharmaceutical companies. This Tech Hub will leverage the region’s existing assets – including expertise in advanced manufacturing, strong pharmaceutical development partnerships among universities and industry, and biopharmaceutical incubators – to make the US biotechnology supply chain more resilient and meet the public health and national security challenges of tomorrow.
Puerto Rico’s Department of Economic Development and Commerce and Invest Puerto Rico also collaborated in the proposal for the hub’s designation. Governor Pedro Pierluisi (NPP, D) called the grant “a great complement to our strategy of strengthening our position as a global leader in the development of emerging technologies tied to the biosciences industry.”
EDA also awarded 29 Strategy Development Grants (SDG) to help communities significantly increase local coordination and planning activities. Such development could make selected grantees more competitive for future Tech Hubs funding opportunities.
“President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is rooted in policies that will empower the United States to out-innovate and out-compete the rest of the world. Our Tech Hubs Program is fundamental to that mission and will supercharge innovation across the nation by spurring cutting-edge technological investments and creating 21st-century job opportunities in people’s backyards,” said US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Each of these consortia will help us ensure the industries of the future—and their good-paying jobs—start, grow, and remain in the United States.”
The Phase 1 winners were selected from nearly 400 applications from regional consortia that include industry, academia, state and local governments, economic development organizations, and labor and workforce partners. As part of the Tech Hubs competition, each consortium outlined plans for strengthening its region’s capacity to manufacture, commercialize, and deploy critical technologies.
The Department of Commerce launched a second Tech Hubs Notice of Funding Opportunity, allowing these designated Tech Hubs to apply to receive between $40 million and $70 million each for implementation funding, totaling nearly $500 million.