The federal government chose Indiana as one of more than two dozen tech hubs across the country.
The U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration designated Heartland BioWorks as a regional technology and innovation hub.
Bloomington-based Applied Research Institute Inc. made the announcement Monday. Heartland BioWorks, a consortium of several groups, including universities, municipalities, economic development organizations and companies, aims to make central Indiana a leader in biotechnology and biomanufacturing.
The designation means the hub can compete for up to $75 million in grants. Heartland BioWorks will focus on training workers for the burgeoning biomanufacturing sector; launching small biotechs and startups that would otherwise rely on offshore production; and modernizing biomanufacturing technologies in the region.
It aims to address national and regional gaps in “biotechnology, medical technology, genomics, and synthetic biology.” Funding will come from the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden in August 2022. Sen. Todd Young and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer were sponsors of the legislation.
The measure set aside billions of dollars to support growth in regions not typically associated with technological innovation.
“When I authored the Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs program, my goal was to spur more innovation in technologies of the future in places like Indiana, rather than just Silicon Valley and a few coastal cities,” Young said.
Young called Monday’s announcement a “major win” for Hoosiers that could “lead to millions in federal investment and will open the floodgates for more private capital in biotech R&D across the state.”
“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,” said Applied Research Institute Chief Executive Officer Dave Roberts. “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 underserved communities.”
“This is just the news we hoped to receive. The EDA’s designation of Heartland BioWorks as a Regional Tech Hub is a recognition of Indiana’s rich tradition of innovation and leadership in both the manufacturing and life science sectors,” said Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb. “We‘ll continue to strongly support the Hub and look forward to moving forward in the process.”
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Energy chose the Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen (MachH2) to develop a regional clean energy hub. That hub includes public and private entities in Indiana, Illinois and Michigan.
In September, Indiana was one of eight sites selected for a regional technology and innovation hub dedicated to the production of semiconductors and microelectronics.