Heartland BioWorks Named Regional Technology Center: What you need to know

The Indiana Institute for Applied Research secured another massive win for the state’s economic development Monday after a federal agency designated Heartland BioWorks, an Indiana stakeholder group, as a regional technology and innovation hub.

The designation by the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration allows Heartland BioWorks to compete for up to $75 million in grants later this year, according to a news release Monday.

The Heartland BioWorks designation comes on the heels of another federal announcement last month in which the U.S. Department of Defense said Indiana will be home to one of eight new regional semiconductor centers across the country as part of CHIPS and U.S. Sen. Todd funding Young’s Law of Science.

What does this all mean for Indiana? Here’s what you need to know.

Another victory of the Institute of Applied Research: Indiana wins $33 million grant for semiconductor center thanks to Sen. Todd Young’s CHIPS Act

What is the Institute for Applied Research?

The Indiana-based Institute for Applied Research helps connect education, government and diverse industry leaders to advance national security research and business efforts that can help solve Defense Department challenges. The institute focuses on hypersonics, cyberphysical systems, microelectronics and artificial intelligence.

Board members of the Applied Research Institute include Governor Eric Holcomb, several university presidents and CEOs.

The Applied Research Institute launched in 2017 and was created through a $16.2 million grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc., according to the organization’s website.

What is Heartland BioWorks?

Heartland BioWorks is comprised of a number of Indiana government, business, educational and research institutions united to bring US-invented bioproducts to production in the United States. The center includes Ivy Tech Community College, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, the 16 Tech Innovation District and the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute.

Heartland BioWorks plans to focus on three biotech gaps identified by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, according to a news release: training, partnering small businesses with manufacturers and providing dollars and resources to produce new technology.

What is a Regional Technology Center designation?

The Regional Technology and Innovation Center designation allows organizations to compete for money that will help develop the workforce in the life sciences industries and ease the challenges small business owners face when it comes to working with biotech products, according to Monday’s announcement.

The designation is part of the Regional Tech Hub program that was created under the CHIPS and Science Act, which became law in 2022 and was co-sponsored by Young.

The U.S. Economic Development Administration aims for the program to help certain areas produce and manufacture technologies that will help the country become more competitive in life sciences manufacturing.

Why does it matter?

Many Indiana-based companies, such as Eli Lilly and Elanco, have experience in manufacturing and the life sciences industry, which the Applied Research Institute believes can make Indiana a national leader when it comes to manufacturing and researching new technologies.

The new designation from the US Economic Development Administration will allow Heartland BioWorks to compete with other regional technology and innovation centers for up to $75 million in grants.

These dollars can help increase collaboration between research institutions, government and other industries to help grow Indiana businesses, according to the Applied Research Institute’s website.

What are local leaders saying?

Government leaders hailed the designation of the Regional Technology and Innovation Center as a win for Hoosiers and manufacturing in the state.

“When I created the Regional Technology and Innovation Centers program, my goal was to drive more innovation in the technology of the future in places like Indiana, not just Silicon Valley and a few coastal cities,” Young said in a statement.

“This is just the news we were hoping for. EDA’s designation of Heartland BioWorks as a Regional Technology Center is recognition of Indiana’s rich tradition of innovation and leadership in both the manufacturing and life science sectors,” Holcomb said in a statement.

What other states have received the Regional Technology and Innovation Center designation?

Heartland BioWorks is one of 31 organizations nationwide to receive the Center designation.

Some of the other designation groups include Baltimore Tech Hub, Elevate Quantum Colorado, Gulf Louisiana Offshore Wind Propeller and Wisconsin Biohealth Tech Hub.

Contact IndyStar state government and politics reporter Brittany Carloni at [email protected] or 317-779-4468. Follow her on Twitter/X @CarloniBrittany.

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