Building Beyond Tomorrow

iFAB Named an EDA Regional Technology & Innovation Hub

Illinois Fermentation and Agriculture Biomanufacturing (iFAB) Tech Hub, hosted by the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory (IBRL) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, is a transformative project that aims to revolutionize biomanufacturing and establish Illinois as a global leader in precision fermentation. iFAB leverages a unique blend of world-class research and development, industry leaders, innovative startups, and scalable infrastructure. It also benefits from an abundant local feedstock, top-tier transportation networks, and robust relationships with local corn and soybean suppliers. Situated within a strategic 51-mile radius, iFAB effectively bridges the gap between bio-innovation research and full-scale manufacturing, enhancing Illinois’ position in the global biomanufacturing landscape.

The Bloch Designated as EDA Regional Technology & Innovation Hub

The Bloch Quantum Tech Hub, led by the Chicago Quantum Exchange, has emerged as a pivotal force in advancing quantum information science and technology (QIST) across Illinois and the U.S. As it vies for Phase 2 funding, The Bloch stands out for its potential to revolutionize sectors such as fraud detection, grid resilience, and drug discovery. Illinois’ leadership in the burgeoning QIST market, which is expected to generate $970 billion globally by 2035, underscores the U.S. role as a global leader in innovation. The Bloch is set to establish the largest community college-led quantum program in the U.S., provide pioneering quantum hardware, software, and networks, and facilitate a unique feedback loop between quantum technologists and industry to accelerate both development and adoption of quantum technologies.

U.S. Department of Energy Awards Midwest Hydrogen Hub $1B in Federal Funding

The Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen was named a Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub—an impressive example of what can happen when our region’s universities, industries, and community partners align to pursue federal funding priorities. Illinois joined Indiana and Michigan to secure a $1 billion award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for a network that enables decarbonization through strategic hydrogen use, reducing carbon emissions by approximately 3.9 million metric tons per year. As a key industrial and transportation corridor, the Midwest Hydrogen Hub anticipates creating 13,600 jobs and investing around $15 million intro training and employment services for the clean energy workforce.

Recompete: Targeting Transformative Federal Funding for Equitable Regional Growth

Workforce Opportunities for Resilient Communities (WORC), led by Richland Community College, is a finalist for Phase 2 of the Recompete funding, seeking $47 million to address unemployment in underserved communities. The Decatur Recompete Plan will expand the proven EnRICH training model to prepare workers for emerging jobs in electric vehicle and precision fermentation sectors. This initiative aims to train residents, provide supportive services, and strengthen career pathways for high school seniors, ensuring equitable access to the growing regional opportunities in manufacturing and high-paying jobs.

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