Five Michigan regions are competing for an influx of federal dollars aimed at jumpstarting growth in the tech sector in more communities.
The CHIPS and Science Act passed by Congress directed the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to launch a national contest — the “Regional Technology and Innovation Hub Program” — in which regions across the U.S. vie for federal dollars to spur tech innovation in more communities.
With five pitches from Michigan, the EDA will soon decide whether a “tech hub” in the state will receive the federal investment.
Part of the goal of the federal program is to counteract the concentration of the U.S. tech economy in a handful of places primarily on the coasts. The EDA has billed the effort to support tech innovation in more communities as a way to bolster the U.S. economy and national security.
Congress authorized $10 billion for the program, and the EDA will choose at least 20 tech hubs across the U.S. Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II, the Michigan Infrastructure Office (MIO), the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation have partnered to support the applications from Michigan for the federal funding, holding an innovation summit in June to hone the pitches.
“Bringing a Tech Hub to Michigan will strengthen our economy and create ground for ideas to grow, talents to shine and communities to prosper,” Gilchrist said in a statement.
A Michigan tech hub?:State eyes federal dollars to boost tech economy at innovation summit
Five prospective tech hubs in Michigan
Tuesday marked the deadline to apply for the federal funding. And in Michigan, the state partnered with five different communities to land the federal dollars, according to a news release from the Michigan Infrastructure Office:
- Detroit-Ann Arbor Mobility Tech Hub: Led by Michigan Central, this proposed tech hub seeks to establish the Detroit-Ann Arbor region as “the world-class leader for electrified, software defined mobility,” according to the release.
- Greater Grand Rapids Global Center for Battery Production Innovation: Led by Grand Valley State University, the proposed battery tech hub aims to “solidify [Michigan’s] leadership in high-capacity battery development,” according to the release.
- Materials Advancement and Research Hub: Based in the Lansing area and led by the Michigan State University Research Foundation, this proposed tech hub sees diamonds playing a role in developing military equipment and helping the auto industry transition to battery electric vehicles.
- Discover Blue Consortium: Led by Traverse Connect, this tech hub focuses on water technology. The consortium “will pursue advancements in freshwater innovation, defense and industrial espionage capacity, engineering and technology, and aquatic science,” according to the release.
- Skylift: This proposed hub led by Western Michigan University sees an opportunity for Michigan to become a leader in air mobility, envisioning a future where electric aircraft “are an integral part of urban landscapes, contributing to a clean, efficient, and high-speed air transport system,” the release states.
When will EDA make selections?
The EDA is expected to announce its selections this fall.
Contact Clara Hendrickson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 313-296-5743. Follow her on Twitter @clarajanehen.