Biden-Harris Administration Announces $51 Million Investment in Central Indiana Tech Hub

Written from White House press releases:

Bloomington, IN – In a move to bolster innovation and economic growth, the Biden-Harris Administration has announced a substantial investment in twelve Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs (Tech Hubs) across the nation, including a $51 million grant for Central Indiana. This initiative, part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, aims to propel the United States to the forefront of emerging industries such as biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and clean energy.

The press releases don’t say what, if anything will be located in Bloomington, but mention Indianapolis, Fishers, Carmel, Lebanon; Indiana.

Specifically, existing bio tech firms will run the project, and a press release states, “Moving forward, the region’s biotech industry leaders (e.g., Lilly, Elanco, Corteva, and INCOG) will help guide the strategy and direction of BioWorks through their commitments to participate as voting members on the Executive Board (i.e., hub decision-making entity) and on component project working groups (e.g., to identify changing workforce needs for BioTrain), and as mentors to start-ups and the integration of demonstration and manufacturing capacity and expertise for BioLaunch (see Sec. 2c). These efforts will be bolstered by Lilly’s commitment to purchase $6M in equipment for the BioWorks HQ, with training supported by industry commitments to hire BioTrain graduates (e.g., Lilly
to hire 700 over seven years and Elanco to hire 189 over five years). BioTrain will quickly scale to multiple sites through Stevanato’s commitment to use part of their new facility in Fishers, IN for BioTrain programming to support the area’s high concentration of CDMO and life sciences activity.”

According to press releases, and White House statements touting job creation, Heartland BioWorks Tech Hub, spearheaded by the Applied Research Institute, has been chosen to transform Central Indiana into a global leader in biotechnology and biomanufacturing. Leveraging the region’s extensive research institutions, logistics infrastructure, and established pharmaceutical and biotechnology manufacturing presence, the Tech Hub will catalyze regional biotech innovation.

“Every American deserves the opportunity to thrive, no matter where they live,” said Vice President Kamala Harris. “Today’s announcement ensures that the benefits of the industries of the future – from artificial intelligence to biotechnology – reach communities that have been overlooked for far too long, including rural and disadvantaged communities.”

John Fernandez, former Mayor of Bloomington and a key contact for the Heartland BioWorks Tech Hub, emphasized the transformative potential of this initiative. “This investment will not only create good-paying jobs but will also strengthen our nation’s biotechnology supply chain and foster the rapid discovery and commercialization of next-generation bioproducts,” Fernandez stated.

The $51 million grant will fund several projects within the Tech Hub, including:

  1. Workforce Development: Attracting and connecting historically excluded workers to good-paying jobs in biotechnology.
  2. Network Establishment: Creating a formal network to provide resources, mentorship, and access to facilities and venture capital for innovators.
  3. BioWorks HQ Construction: Building a training and demonstration facility to upskill current employees and prepare new workers for the biotech industry.
  4. Grant Program Implementation: Helping early-stage innovators overcome cost barriers to accessing development facilities.
  5. Training Pathways Development: Leveraging curricula from Indiana’s higher education institutions to prepare participants for roles in biomanufacturing and lab technology.

To ensure broad regional benefits, the consortium is committed to forming a BioWorks Community and Equity Advisory Board. This board will include representatives from underserved communities to review programming and amplify opportunities for disenfranchised groups.

The Heartland BioWorks Tech Hub is one of twelve new Tech Hubs funded by the Biden-Harris Administration, spanning 14 states. These hubs are expected to create good-paying jobs and spur economic development in previously underinvested areas. The investment in these hubs represents a strategic move to ensure that American workers, businesses, and communities lead in the industries of the future, thereby strengthening national and economic security, according to the press releases.

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