Innovate Illinois supports IBRL project for federal EDA Tech Hub funding

Governor JB Pritzker speaking at the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory
Governor JB Pritzker speaking at the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory

Innovate Illinois has announced its support for two transformative projects seeking federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) Tech Hub Funding located in Illinois. These visionary efforts, including University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign project iFAB: Illinois Fermentation and Agriculture Biomanufacturing Tech Hub, represent a pivotal opportunity for the state of Illinois to strengthen its position as a leading hub for innovation, economic growth, and technological advancement.

“Innovate Illinois was designed to build a robust coalition that would pool its collective expertise to advance groundbreaking technologies, and with its support of The Bloch and iFAB, Illinois is doing just that,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Illinois is on the cutting edge of bioprocessing and quantum computing. Our continued leadership in these spaces will help address global challenges and drive economic growth.”

As a leader in biomanufacturing, Illinois is well-suited to grow the sector through its support of iFAB: Illinois Fermentation and Agriculture Biomanufacturing Tech Hub, led by the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory (IBRL), part of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) at U. of I. in partnership with Archer Daniels Midland Company, Primient, and Clarkson Grain Company. This visionary proposal seeks to revolutionize synthetic biology and fermentation processing, driving economic growth and fostering innovation for a sustainable future.

Synthetic biology, a burgeoning scientific discipline, focuses on engineering organisms with enhanced capabilities to tackle practical challenges, including pollution remediation and improved resource utilization. Precision fermentation processing, central to synthetic biology, harnesses cutting-edge technology to convert plant-based feedstocks into high-value commodities, such as food ingredients, fuels, and performance materials. The precision fermentation industry is projected to reach $11.8 billion by 2028, with the potential to generate one million jobs by 2030, presenting an extraordinary opportunity for the US to optimize its resources and enhance global competitiveness.

The federal EDA Tech Hub Program is an economic development initiative designed to drive regional technology advancement across the United States. In this first phase, the EDA will designate at least 20 Tech Hubs across the country and will separately award approximately $15 million in strategy development grants to accelerate the development of future Tech Hubs. Only Consortia are eligible to apply for the grant program, which includes groups such as academia, private sector representatives, local or state government, and federal labs, among others.

Innovate Illinois is a public-private coalition that was formed to drive the coordinated and robust effort in securing unprecedented levels of federal funding made available by landmark legislation including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act. Securing more federal funding for key technologies will propel the state to attract more companies and investors and grow Illinois’ already vibrant ecosystem.

To learn more, visit the Innovate Illinois website.

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