Building Beyond Tomorrow

Illinois Submits Two Projects for Phase 2 Federal EDA Tech Hub Funding

CHICAGO — March 1, 2024 — Innovate Illinois is excited to announce the submission of two transformative projects—The Bloch and iFAB—for Phase 2 funding under the U.S Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Tech Hubs Program. Both The Bloch, aimed at advancing quantum information science and technology (QIST), and the iFAB: Illinois Fermentation and Agriculture Biomanufacturing Hub, positioning the state as a global leader in precision fermentation, are set to elevate Illinois as a leading hub for innovation and technological advancement.

“Through Innovate Illinois, we’ve rallied a robust coalition to elevate groundbreaking technologies, and now with our pursuit of Phase 2 Tech Hub funding for The Bloch and iFAB, we’re cementing Illinois’ leadership in quantum computing and bioprocessing,” stated Governor JB Pritzker. “Our commitment to these cutting-edge fields positions us to address global issues and drive significant economic growth.”

The EDA’s Tech Hubs Program Phase 2 seeks to empower regions with the potential to become globally competitive tech leaders. Phase 2 will award Implementation Grants to designated Tech Hubs to propel their regional growth in technology through initiatives in workforce development, business and entrepreneur development, technology maturation, and infrastructure enhancement. Each selected Tech Hub could receive funding of $40 to $70 million for multiple projects that collectively tackle the region’s challenges in achieving global competitiveness.

“The collaboration between Illinois’ industry powerhouses and the state’s academic leaders through Innovate Illinois is a model for transformational progress,” said UL Solutions President and CEO and Innovate Illinois Co-Vice-Chair Jennifer Scanlon. “Together, we’re not just developing technology—we’re cultivating an ecosystem that will carry Illinois and the entire nation forward in the competitive global market. This is where ingenuity meets opportunity, fostering advancements that will resonate across industries and borders.”

The Bloch represents Illinois’ forefront position in quantum information science and technology research, supported by four of the ten National Quantum Initiative centers and institutes. The Chicago Quantum Exchange (CQE), a leading university-led quantum initiative, catalyzes research activity across its member and partner institutions. With a potential market of $106 billion by 2040, securing Phase 2 funding will translate Illinois’ QIST leadership and innovation into equitable regional economic growth and strengthened national security. Illinois’ prior success in securing $390 million in federal funding underscores its dedication to quantum research, promising to revolutionize industries from finance to cybersecurity.

iFAB exemplifies Illinois’ biomanufacturing prowess, with a strategic focus on synthetic biology and fermentation processing led by the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory (IBRL) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and key industry partners. The project will drive economic growth and innovation for a sustainable future by capitalizing on Illinois’ strength in agricultural production and advancing precision fermentation. With the industry projected to boom to $11.8 billion by 2028, iFAB’s success in Phase 2 funding would bolster the United States’ resource optimization and global market position. iFAB has secured over $680 million in cash match and strategic investments, indicating a strong backing from stakeholders.

“Innovate Illinois recognizes that academic curiosity and research are the bedrock of technological innovation,” stated Chancellor Robert J. Jones, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Co-Vice-Chair of Innovate Illinois. “Through the iFAB Tech Hub, we are pioneering research in synthetic biology and fermentation processing that has the potential to revolutionize how we approach biomanufacturing, ensuring that Illinois remains at the forefront of this critical industry.”

Innovate Illinois is a testament to the state’s collaborative spirit, uniting public and private sectors in a concerted effort to secure substantial federal investment. This backing fuels the state’s vibrant ecosystem, attracting more companies and investors, and reinforcing Illinois’ stature as a crucible of technological progress.

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