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EDA Designates Two Tech Hubs in Illinois

Program spurs technology development, innovation, and economic growth within dynamic quantum and biomanufacturing industries.

Q2 2024
Fermentation suite at IBRL
Fermentation suite at IBRL
Illinois is home to two of the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Tech Hubs. 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 five years.

Illinois was chosen for two of the nation’s 31 Tech Hubs because of the state’s transformative position in both quantum computing and biomanufacturing. iFAB and Bloch Quantum Tech Hub were designated Tech Hubs out of nearly 400 applicants based on their innovation and economic growth potential.

iFAB — Illinois Fermentation and Agricultural Biomanufacturing
iFab is growing Illinois into a best-in-the-world hub for fermentation manufacturing, a burgeoning industry. The iFAB consortium consists of 31 members, including academic institutions, economic development corporations, industry partners, and government agencies, and is run out of the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Lab (IBRL) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. iFAB’s mission is to scale precision fermentation to convert underutilized corn and feedstocks in the state into high-value, customized alternative proteins, food ingredients, and other materials that will serve a variety of industries.

“Biomanufacturing has enormous potential to impact the economy of the U.S. in the coming years, growing to a $200 billion market by 2040,” said Beth Conerty, associate director of IBRL and regional innovation officer for iFAB. “We plan to capitalize on this economic opportunity and bring economic development and national recognition to the region.”

Biomanufacturing has enormous potential to impact the economy of the U.S. in the coming years, growing to a $200 billion market by 2040. Beth Conerty, Associate Director of IBRL, Regional Innovation Officer for iFAB The Bloch Quantum Tech Hub
The Bloch Quantum Tech Hub leverages the region’s strengths, talent, and existing economy to speed the adoption of quantum technologies across a broad range of industries. Its coalition of academic, and government partners are led by the University of Chicago’s Chicago Quantum Exchange (CQE), a research center dedicated to advancing the science and engineering of quantum information. Quantum discoveries have the potential to help virtually every industry, especially telecommunications, pharma, and artificial intelligence.

The Bloch Quantum Tech Hub is further supported by several National Quantum Information Science Research centers in the Chicago area, Argonne National Laboratory, and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. Quantum businesses continue to move into the area, creating a dynamic, interactive research cluster.

“The Bloch will capitalize on the deep partnerships that the CQE has fostered across industry, government, and academia,” said David Awschalom, director of the CQE. “This project not only propels the U.S. to the forefront of quantum research, but also nurtures the next generation of quantum scientists and engineers.”

Innovation and Opportunity
In addition to driving scientific discovery, Tech Hubs will stimulate considerable capital investment in key sectors across the country. This includes international stakeholders that want to establish their own facilities and find research and partners within the hubs.

“The presence of two tech hubs in Illinois shows the breadth and versatility of the state's economy,” said Conerty. “Combined, they will provide an enormous opportunity for growth and excellent jobs for Illinois residents, as well as exemplify the research strengths of different parts of the state.”

Editor's Note: This article was written for Intersect Illinois which sponsored and approved this post.

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