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Feb 14 -- The Department of Commerce, through the Economic Development Administration (EDA), is seeking information to inform the planning and design of the Regional Technology and Innovation Hub (Tech Hubs) program. Responses to this Request for Information (RFI) will inform planning for the implementation of the Tech Hubs program. Comments must be received by 5 p.m. Eastern Time on March 16, 2023.

Section 10621 of the Research and Development, Competition, and Innovation Act authorizes the Department of Commerce to designate geographically distributed regional technology and innovation hubs and to award strategy development grants and strategy implementation grants to eligible consortia (15 U.S.C. 3722a; Pub. L. 117-167, Division B, Title VI, Subtitle C, Sec. 10621(a)(2), 136 Stat. 1642). Tech Hubs will focus on technology development, job creation, entrepreneurial development, and expanding U.S. innovation capacity. Of the $10 billion authorized for the Tech Hubs program from Federal fiscal year 2023 through Federal fiscal year 2027, $500 million has been made available for the Tech Hubs program as of the publication of this RFI.

Section 10621 of the Research and Development, Competition, and Innovation Act provides that the Tech Hubs program shall:

(A) Encourage constructive collaborations among a wide range of new and traditional economic development stakeholders, including public and private sector entities;

(B) Support the development and implementation of regional innovation strategies;

(C) Designate regional technology and innovation hubs and facilitate the following implementation activities:

(i) Enable United States leadership in technology and innovation sectors critical to national and economic security.

(ii) Support regional economic development and resilience, including in small cities and rural areas, and promote increased geographic diversity of innovation across the United States;

(iii) Promote the benefits of technology development and innovation for all Americans, including underserved communities and vulnerable communities;

(iv) Support the modernization and expansion of United States manufacturing based on advances in technology and innovation;

(v) Support domestic job creation and broad-based economic growth; and

(vi) Improve the pace of market readiness, industry maturation, and overall commercialization and domestic production of innovative research;

(D) Ensure that the regional technology and innovation hubs address the intersection of emerging technologies and either regional challenges or national challenges; and

(E) Conduct ongoing research, evaluation, analysis, and dissemination of best practices for regional development and competitiveness in technology and innovation.

The Tech Hubs program is an economic development initiative to drive technology- and innovation-centric growth that leverages existing R&D strengths and technology demonstration and deployment capacities (public and private) within a region to catalyze the creation of good jobs for American workers at all skill levels equitably and inclusively.

EDA intends to run a rigorous, fair, and evidence-driven competition informed by the vision and experiences of all stakeholders, technology practitioners, and relevant policy research to guide program design, structure, and evaluation, and to aim for the strongest geographic and demographic diversity among hubs. This RFI seeks to encourage the field of regional innovation and economic development to provide evidence-based input that will be used to inform the design and implementation of the Tech Hubs program to maximize American competitiveness. The following sections provide specific requests for information, group into a number of categories.

Specific Request for Information: . . . .

FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-03022

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