Rhode Island Secures Federal Designation as Tech Hub, Continuing to Position State as Leader in Ocean Technology

Governor Dan McKee and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation today announced that Rhode Island and its Southeastern New England partners have secured an official federal designation as a Tech Hub. Rhode Island’s proposal for an Ocean Tech Hub was one out of 31 inaugural Tech Hubs announced today by the Biden Administration. Today’s designation positions Rhode Island to continue serving as a leader in Ocean Technology. Rhode Island and the Southeastern New England region was selected out of hundreds of applications that were submitted for this program.

“I thank the Biden Administration for designating Rhode Island as the home of one of 31 inaugural Tech Hubs across the country that show potential for rapid growth in key technology sectors,” said Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee. “Ocean technology and the ocean economy has been part of the innovation ecosystem in Rhode Island for decades. This designation validates Rhode Island’s national position in this growing global market and gives us the fuel to build critical infrastructure that will further drive U.S. economic and national security.”

In addition to a Tech Hubs Designation, EDA announced today that the Ocean Tech Hub was also awarded a Tech Hubs Strategy Development Grant that will help the consortium increase local coordination and planning activities to strengthen its region’s capacity to manufacture, commercialize, and deploy critical technologies.

“I am honored that the Ocean Tech Hub has been designated as a federal Tech Hub by the Biden Administration, a testimony to the strong collaboration between the state of Rhode Island and our partners,” said Secretary of Commerce Liz Tanner. “There is much work ahead for us as this is merely the onset of our efforts towards bolstering American innovation. As we move forward with our next steps, our resolve for sustained collaboration and leadership only amplifies. Together, we will advance the fields of technology and innovation, aligning with President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, contributing to a future of opportunity and economic growth.”

The Ocean Tech Hub, a consortium led by Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, will leverage its unique coastal assets – including seven commercial ports and shallow and deep ocean access – to establish digital and physical testing and manufacturing environments for rapid prototyping and delivery to meet the growing commercial demand. In doing so, the Ocean Tech Hub will advance ocean technology innovation and become a global leader in the growing ocean economy.

“Providence is poised to become a national leader in the blue economy, which is why I am thrilled the Biden Administration designated the Rhode Island Ocean Tech Hub as one of the 31 proposals selected to be Tech Hubs across the country,” said Mayor Brett P. Smiley. “I look forward to collaborating with our state, federal and community partners to invest in the technologies of the future and further grow Providence’s reputation as an economic powerhouse for New England.”

The Ocean Tech Hub Consortium includes leaders from academia, industry, government, labor and community organizations from both Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts with support from partners in Connecticut and beyond, many who helped build the Grow Blue Strategy, focused on catalyzing the ocean economy. Members include Brown University, Rhode Island College, University of Rhode Island, University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, RI-AFLCIO, 401 Tech Bridge, Jaia Robotics, IBM, Infused Innovations, New Bedford Ocean Cluster, Rhode Island Department of Labor & Training, Rhode Island Marine Trades Association, Rhode Island Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District and the City of Providence. Rhode Island Commerce Corporation will continue to lead and convene the Consortium.

“I want to congratulate Gov. McKee, Rhode Island Commerce, and everyone involved in this successful effort. As Rhode Island’s flagship public research university, URI plays a significant role in workforce development in the state, and we look forward to participating in the Ocean Tech Hub as we work in partnership to grow the blue economy in the state and region,” said Marc Parlange, President, University of Rhode Island.

“Rhode Island College is proud to be a part of the team that will transform our state into a national leader in blue technology. Thanks to the leadership of Governor McKee and Rhode Island Commerce we will have the resources and strategy we need to bring together higher education, business, the nonprofit sector and government, all working to drive innovation. The Ocean State will lead the way,” said Dr. Jack R. Warner, President, Rhode Island College.

“The achievement of this Tech Hub designation positions Rhode Island to turn existing strengths in undersea technology into a powerful economic sector that can benefit all local residents,” said Brown University President Christina H. Paxson. “With a growing research focus on ocean engineering, science and technology, Brown is excited to collaborate with partners to support the commercialization of new discoveries, the creation of new jobs locally and the strength of the state’s blue economy.”

This designation is part of the first phase of the novel Tech Hubs program, authorized by the CHIPS and Science Act, that will invest directly in high-potential U.S. regions and aim to transform them into globally competitive innovation centers. Designation is an endorsement of the region’s strategy to supercharge their respective technological industry to create jobs and strengthen U.S. economic and national security. Designated Tech Hubs are now eligible to apply for the next phase of the Tech Hubs Program that will invest between $50-$75 million in each of 5-10 Designated Hubs.




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