The fact sheet indicates that a two-month application window for the strategy development awards and the designation for at least 20 Tech Hubs will open in late April/early May. The announcement of the designation of Tech Hubs and the opening of the application period for the implementation awards will be by the end of this summer.
EDA underscores the importance of increasing the “equity, accessibility and diversity of the innovation economy,” saying successful applicants “will pursue specific, impactful diversity and inclusion strategies…” Geographic diversity will be a focus for EDA “throughout the continuum of rural and urban areas,” according to the fact sheet. Under the section on Phase 2, EDA also states that successful applicants will have a vision to become a global leader in one of the 10 core technology areas identified in the CHIPS and Science Act.
However, the fact sheet indicates that “EDA defines a Hub’s geography as a single Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA),” which would seem to indicate that a consortia not in an MSA will not be considered for designation or funding.
SSTI requested clarification from EDA on this geographic point and several other items. We will update this article as we receive updated information. Among the questions we posed are:
- The program provides for two funding opportunities, referred to in the fact sheet as Phase 1 and Phase 2. Will these phases be awarded consecutively or concurrently?
- Is the intent that those receiving strategy development awards this year complete those awards before applying for implementation awards?
- Will the application process for designation and strategy development awards be two separate applications and timeline? Or are these two different processes as part of what is labeled on the fact sheet as Phase 1? If different, are there different timelines?
- What is the timeline for releasing additional information on the program?
- Will the next release of information be the Notice of Funding Opportunity?
- It is our understanding from the Tech Hubs statute that one does not have to receive a strategy development grant to apply for an implementation grant. Is that the plan for this program’s operation?
- Given that every EDA program has its own set of regulations, with this being a new program, which regulations will govern these awards?
- Concerning eligibility, the fact sheet states that EDA defines a Hub’s geography as a single MSA. Does this mean that rural regions and micropolitan areas are ineligible to lead as a Tech Hub?