Nov 28, 2023

Indiana Tech Hub Wins Will Surge State’s Economy

Sometimes, the best things come in threes. This year, Indiana had three massive wins in the form of three federal tech hub designations in microelectronics, hydrogen energy, and biotechnology. Going three-for-three on these federal designations not only illustrates the hard work and dedication Indiana has contributed to drive innovation and job creation, it also gives the state line of sight to hundreds of millions of federal dollars to build and support a tech-focused state economy.

“What we are seeing now is the culmination of a strategy implemented by Governor Holcomb, along with Commerce Secretaries Chambers and Rosenberg,” says Andrew Kossack, Executive Vice President at the Applied Research Institute (ARI). “The IEDC found an efficient vehicle to unify Indiana’s opportunities and assets by the ARI team under Dave Roberts’ leadership, who was formerly the State’s Chief Innovation Officer at the IEDC. It became clear we needed to unify within the state to lead efforts for these innovations, gathering all relevant stakeholders around the pursuit of these generational opportunities.”

First, the microelectronics hub came to fruition through the ‘Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act’, which was co-authored by Indiana Sen. Todd Young. ARI was awarded $32.9 million in the first year for the Silicon Crossroads Microelectronics Commons (SCMC) Hub, which will focus on semiconductors. ARI is leading the Midwest-based SCMC hub, which is the largest of the eight designated hubs nationally by membership, with more than 130 members. 

“The Microelectronic Commons designation and award shows the direct impact that Indiana’s pursuit of tech innovations is having on our national security,” said Kossack. “This hub designation is already increasing economic activity in Indiana and could have significant ripple effects as we work with Silicon Crossroads members to solve “lab-to-fab” challenges facing Indiana semiconductor innovators.”

Next, the US Economic Development Administration (EDA) designated the ARI led and Indiana-based Heartland BioWorks as a regional technology and innovation hub. The Indiana consortium was in the top tier of applications from across the nation, spotlighting the Midwest among other competing states. Featuring both legacy and emerging Indiana biotech and bio-manufacturing industry leaders, the newly designated Heartland Bioworks is competing against other regional technology and innovation hubs for grants of up to $75 million. One of the goals of the hub is to enhance collaboration between research universities and the federal government to promote business growth in the Hoosier state. 

“We are now entering Phase 2 of the process,” said Kossack. “We are currently competing for implementation grant funding in the $50-75 million range. Indiana has the highest concentration of advanced manufacturing jobs in America and a preeminent logistics infrastructure, making Indiana uniquely competitive in this process and uniquely capable of both making and moving life-saving medicines to support the health of the nation.”

Lastly, the hydrogen hub designation by the Department of Energy solidifies Indiana as a clean energy leader. 

“We partnered with other states in the Midwest to land this hub,” said Kossack. “The process reflects our collaborative spirit and highlights Indiana’s unique role in this hub as Indiana leads our Midwest partners through the negotiation phase with the Department of Energy.”

Thoughtful and intentional collaborative efforts like these reflect Indiana’s boldness. 

“Indiana is the only state to lead and land all three of these hubs,” said Kossack. “These initiatives place Indiana as a leader enabling a secure and prosperous future for our nation in multiple industries.”

Indeed, there is something special about Indiana’s assets: a collaborative spirit, high-quality educational institutions, and unparalleled work ethic. 

“ARI serves as a catalyst for regional transformation by bringing together dozens of entities across the public sector, private sector, nonprofits, and academia to go after transformational funding opportunities,” said Kossack. “These hubs are both a reflection of the work already accomplished by Indiana organizations and a strong indication of the potential for success on the road ahead.”

This level of federal funding is an incredible gain for the state, but the goal is to create ecosystems within each tech area to curate a sustainable economy that is forward-focused, leveraging emerging tech for the future.

“We are just getting started,” said Lauren Gorey, Vice President of Communications at ARI. “Everyone came together and worked diligently to make it possible. No other state has both led and landed these enormous hub opportunities. These are the first of many wins like this for the state of Indiana.”

Read more here on the biotech hub; the hydrogen hub; and the semiconductor hub.