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Tech Hub Triumph: Wisconsin Gains Prestigious EDA Tech Hub Designation for Personalized Medicine

Wisconsin has been selected as one of only 31 regions in the country to receive the Economic Development Administration (EDA) Regional Technology and Innovations Hub (Tech Hub) Phase 1 designation. Implemented as part of the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act, the designation recognizes the state’s existing strength in personalized medicine, biohealth technology, precision manufacturing and automation and its capabilities for exponential growth and innovation. Furthermore, Wisconsin will receive one of 29 Strategy Development Grants to enhance the realization of the Tech Hub Designation’s strategic vision.

“I am thrilled that the Biden administration sees what we knew all along: Wisconsin is the perfect place for a Tech Hub. We have cutting-edge businesses, a second-to-none workforce, and a robust manufacturing economy, positioning us perfectly to be at the center of innovation,” said U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin. “I was proud to support the legislation that created the Tech Hub program and am now proud to see Wisconsin get initial investments that will spur economic growth, accelerate advances in health care manufacturing, and create good-paying jobs. I am committed to keep fighting to make sure Wisconsin lands a Tech Hub and we can carry forward our state’s rich tradition of manufacturing and innovation.”

GE HealthCare’s Vice President of Advanced Technology, Jay Hill, shared in the excitement. “This designation sends a loud and clear message to the world that Wisconsin is perfectly poised for this initiative that will drive significant advancements in biohealth,” Hill said. “We have all the puzzle pieces in place including the companies, talent and innovative thinkers required to continue advancing the development of personalized medicine. GE HealthCare is proud to help lead that effort and to participate as a consortium member in the Tech Hub application process.” 

The Phase 1 designation signals a region’s potential for rapid economic growth over the next decade with an aim of boosting the U.S. economy and national security by nurturing burgeoning industries and fostering job growth. The program targets regions already leading in their industry with the potential to evolve into globally competitive innovation centers over the course of a decade. Phase 1 recipients are now invited to apply for Phase 2 which, if achieved, entails federal grants ranging from $50 to $75 million to support projects aligned with the program’s overarching goal.

BioForward Wisconsin, the lead consortium member that submitted the grant applications, which included a Tech Hub designation and a strategy development grant application, is part of a collaborative, diverse and impactful consortium comprised of 15 members representing a variety of biohealth industry leading companies, economic and workforce development entities, Wisconsin universities and technical colleges who developed and submitted both designation and strategy grant applications for EDA’s consideration. The designation grant application was among 192 submissions, while the strategy grant application was one of 179 from regions across the United States. 

“The reality is, collectively, Wisconsin is already a leader in biohealth technology and precision manufacturing,” said BioForward CEO Lisa Johnson. “We have the capabilities in place and this designation will launch new endeavors that will benefit all of humankind.”

Plexus CEO Todd Kelsey is in full agreement. “This designation is the catalyst that propels our region onto the national and international stage,” he explained. “It opens the door for even greater collaboration and will be the beacon that attracts new talent and new companies to our region, leading to greater innovations that will benefit us while creating an even greater impact on Wisconsin’s economy.”

In 2022, Wisconsin’s biohealth sector, encompassing biotech, biopharma, medical devices, diagnostics, digital health and advanced manufacturing contributed significantly to the state’s economic fabric. The sector’s impact exceeded $32 billion, provided employment for over 129,000 individuals and contributed to products and services valued at $6 billion.

Wisconsin eagerly anticipates harnessing the Strategy Grant funds to strategically shape the region’s prosperous future by championing projects aligning with the primary vision of the Tech Hub designation. The Phase 1 designation was vitally important to achieve as only Phase 1 recipients are then invited to apply for the EDA’s Phase 2 designation. Approximately 5 to 10 applicants will be granted Phase 2 designation which, if received, would result in access to between $50 and $75 million in federal grants. The grants will support projects aligned with the program’s overarching goal.

“We achieved a major milestone and we’re just getting started,” said Dr. Anjon Audhya, UW School of Medicine and Public Health (UWSMPH) senior associate dean for basic research, biotechnology, and graduate studies. “With BioForward at the helm, our focus is now on preparing a compelling application to achieve Phase 2 designation which will place our region on a transformative trajectory, securing our future as trailblazers, paving the path to personalized medicine. It’s a path that will be marked by greater educational opportunities, economic growth, amplified collaboration, and a bright future for our state.” 

 

About the Consortium

BioForward as the lead consortium member will be responsible for reporting requirements for Phase 1. Additional consortium members include: Accuray, Employ Milwaukee, Exact Sciences, GE HealthCare, Madison Area Technical College, MadREP, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Milwaukee7, Plexus, Rockwell Automation, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Wisconsin System, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and WRTP | Big Step.

About BioForward

BioForward Wisconsin represents more than 230 member organizations across an integrated network of health solution leaders, including research institutions, biotech and biopharma, digital health, healthcare systems, and medical device, and diagnostics. It is an action-oriented association that focuses on initiatives to strengthen the state’s biohealth industry. Learn more about BioForward Wisconsin at www.bioforward.org.