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Gov. Pritzker, Sen. Duckworth, and Sen. Durbin Announce Two Illinois Programs Selected as U.S. EDA Tech Hubs

Press Release - Monday, October 23, 2023

The Tech Hubs will bolster technology developments, innovation, and economic growth in Illinois

CHICAGO — Today, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced that two Illinois programs have been designated as part of 31 Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs (Tech Hubs). The Central Illinois Fermentation and Agriculture Biomanufacturing (iFAB) Hub and the Chicago Area Quantum Tech Hub: The Bloch were selected based on their innovation and economic growth potential—they will now be eligible to apply for the second phase of the Tech Hubs Program to receive between $50 and $75 million in federal funding.

"Home to world-class institutions and first-rate research centers, Illinois is transforming technology, biomanufacturing, and innovation at every turn," said Governor JB Pritzker. "I couldn't be prouder that the Biden Administration has selected The Chicago Quantum Exchange's the Bloch and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's iFAB Hub as two of just thirty-one inaugural tech hubs—opening the door for even more investment, advancement, and discovery. There's no doubt that the rest of the nation have caught on to our great state's status as an innovation powerhouse—and our future couldn't be brighter."

"Illinois is already a hub of agriculture, manufacturing, transportation and technology, making our state ideally positioned for these Tech Hub designations and, with them, greater innovation, investment and job creation," said Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). "Coordination across all levels of government is key to maximizing these generational investments, and I'm proud to have worked closely with Senator Durbin and Governor Pritzker to successfully advocate for our state to win these Hubs. I was proud to help pass the CHIPS and Science Act last year, but today I'm thrilled Illinois is making it clear that we are ready to compete and have the projects and innovation ready to compete for the law's new investments right here to bring our state, nation and world into the future."

"It's welcome news that two Illinois proposals—one in quantum and one in advanced biomanufacturing—have been designated as Regional Tech Hubs," said Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL).  "Thanks to the CHIPS and Science Act that we passed last year and President Biden's leadership, the Tech Hubs program is investing in America, creating good paying jobs, and driving innovation. As a national leader in both quantum and biomanufacturing, Illinois is well-equipped to look beyond existing technologies to capture the next generation of economic opportunities. I look forward to seeing Illinois' Tech Hubs lead the way in these transformative fields."

The Tech Hubs Program is an economic development initiative designed to drive technology and innovation growth by strengthening a region's capacity to manufacture, commercialize, and deploy critical technologies. The program was enacted as part of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, and will receive $10 billion in funding over the course of five years. The two Illinois Tech Hubs are part of the 31 designees selected from over 370 applicants.

The Central Illinois Fermentation and Agriculture Biomanufacturing (iFAB) Hub
The iFab Consortium is led by the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory (IBRL) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and brings together over 30 partners representing Central Illinois' leading academic, industry, and government organizations to address the growing demand for fermentation in biomanufacturing. Precision fermentation is critical for the sustainable production of the nutritional components that will feed the growing global population. The precision fermentation-derived proteins market is growing by almost 40% every year and is expected to represent a $30 billion industry by 2030.

Illinois is the largest state for soy production and the second largest for corn production, which ensures the state's agricultural industry has the necessary assets needed to transform Central Illinois into a global leader in biomanufacturing. The Tech Hub award for iFAB will have profound benefits for the nation's food security, increase supply chain resilience, and boost Illinois' decarbonization efforts and global competitiveness.

The Chicago Area Quantum Tech Hub: The Bloch
The Bloch brings together public, private, and academic partners from throughout the Chicago metropolitan statistical area (MSA), to advance the regional adoption of quantum information science and technology (QIST) by building a framework that can be used across a variety of industries. The QIST enabled solution framework will initially target the financial sector and will later be adapted to meet the needs of other consortia partners in industries such as transportation, manufacturing, healthcare, and defense.

The Bloch will positively impact the local economy, and by 2035, can generate an estimated $8.7 billion in annual economic output and create up to 8,000 high paying jobs.

"Illinois is at the center of innovation and this announcement solidifies our status as a pillar of the research and biomanufacturing community," said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. "The Tech Hubs Program will also serve as an economic driver, further strengthening our workforce and communities."

"In their comments about the Tech Hubs, the Biden-Harris administration dared us to dream big, and that's something we know how to do at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and all across this state," said Chancellor Robert J. Jones, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "I'm so proud to see the way our state's institutions of higher education are helping to power our region forward, together with our industrial, community, and government partners."

"The Chicago region is a major player driving US leadership in quantum, in part because of the deep partnerships we have fostered among leading research institutions and industry partners—and in part because of strong federal and state government support," said David Awschalom, the University of Chicago's Liew Family Professor of Molecular Engineering and the director of the Chicago Quantum Exchange (CQE). "This designation speaks not only to our promising future but to the collaborative, cross-sector work we are already doing to advance research, build a future quantum workforce, and drive the quantum economy, efforts that have been catalyzed by the CQE and its members and partners."

"This official designation by the EDA reinforces the region's position as a national leader in quantum technologies and will bolster our efforts to build an inclusive workforce, drive the quantum economy, and help bring transformative technologies to market," said Kate Timmerman, CEO of the Chicago Quantum Exchange. "We especially appreciate that this funding is aimed at building equitable economies that serve all communities."

"With the right investments and collaborative focus, Illinois and Chicago are poised to lead us forward in critical technology areas like quantum computing and advanced bioprocessing," said Jenny Scanlon, CEO of UL Solutions and Vice Chair of Innovate Illinois. "We are honored to have been recognized by the US Commerce Department with two EDA Tech Hubs and are eager to roll up our sleeves to make these hubs the innovation beacons our region and country need to compete in the global marketplace."

"This is a great moment for Team Illinois. The Innovate Illinois coalition, led by Governor Pritzker, believes strongly that our State has the bold vision, the collaborative approach and the diverse talent to lead our country forward in critical areas like quantum and bioprocessing," said P33 CEO Brad Henderson.

"Central Illinois is a powerhouse of bioprocessing and biomanufacturing expertise and innovation," said Dr. Beth Conerty, PI of the Illinois Fermentation Agriculture Bioprocessing (iFAB) TechHub proposal. "With state investments in the Integrated Bioprocessing Resource Laboratory (IBRL), world-class industrial innovation in Macon County, startup activity in Champaign County, and academic resources at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, there is no better location to expand biomanufacturing and bridge the gap between pilot and manufacturing scale facilities."

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