Maine receives “Tech Hub” designation for forest bioproducts development
October 26, 2023
By Government of Maine
First-of-its-kind designation positions Maine’s forest bioproducts sector for Federal investment, further growth.
Maine Governor Janet Mills welcomed the announcement by the Biden-Harris Administration that it has designated Maine’s Forest Bioproducts Advanced Manufacturing Tech Hub as a Federal “Tech Hub.” The designation acknowledges that Maine’s forest bioproducts sector has the potential for rapid growth and opens the door for significant Federal investment in the future.
The Maine Technology Institute and the Mills Administration applied for this designation earlier this year. The Forest Bioproducts Tech Hub will accelerate research and development of natural polymers and other wood fibre bioproducts that can sequester carbon and replace plastics and toxic chemicals, while bolstering “Made in America” supply chain goals.
The Mills Administration and MTI partnered with more than 30 leading Maine industries, businesses, innovators, workforce entities, and institutions of higher education to propose the Tech Hub. This consortium includes the University of Maine, the Roux Institute, the Maine Community College System, Sappi, IDEXX, Thornton Tomasetti, FOR/Maine, the AFL-CIO, the Maine Venture Fund and more.
The consortium is just one of 31 Tech Hubs to receive an inaugural designation under the Tech Hubs program created by President Biden’s CHIPS and Sciences Act. The bipartisan legislation, supported by Maine’s Congressional Delegation, makes historic investments designed to position American workers, communities, and businesses to succeed and keep the United States the leader of cutting-edge industries.
“Maine’s forest products sector is a key part of our state’s heritage and a cornerstone of our economic future. This exciting designation signifies to the world that Maine is a global leader in developing and manufacturing climate-friendly, sustainable products that create jobs and strengthen the U.S. supply chain,” said Governor Janet Mills. “I thank the Biden-Harris Administration for its continued support of Maine manufacturing, and I thank U.S. Senators Collins and King and Representatives Pingree and Golden for supporting the CHIPS and Sciences Act that made this designation possible.”
“By investing in promising forest product innovation, this grant will allow our consortium to strengthen a key Maine industry, bolster rural Maine, and advance global climate solutions that will grow our economy,” said Heather Johnson, commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, and Hannah Pingree, director of the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future. “We are proud of the strong collaboration among the private and public sectors, including our institutions of higher education, that led to this award and that will contribute to its success in the future.”
“MTI is honoured to lead this impressive consortium of Maine partners engaged in government, industry, higher education, workforce, and economic development as we embark on this vital effort to further bolster our state’s reputation for manufacturing forest-derived, climate-friendly products,” said Brian Whitney, president of Maine Technology Institute. “We are incredibly grateful to the EDA for this coveted designation.”
As part of today’s announcement, the U.S. Economic Development Administration announced that the Maine Tech Hub consortium will receive a Tech Hubs Strategy Grant to increase local co-ordination and planning activities to strengthen its region’s capacity to manufacture, commercialize, and deploy critical technologies.
The designation will allow the consortium to apply for the next phase of the Tech Hubs Program that will invest between $50-$75 million in each of 5-10 designated hubs.
Maine was selected from a competitive process that included 198 applications from regional consortia that include industry, academia, state and local governments, economic development organizations, and labor and workforce partners.
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