Ocean Tech Hub seeking project concept proposals

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN looks on as Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo speaks on the South Lawn of the White House during a news conference last August. The Biden administration on Tuesday excluded Rhode Island from $504 million in grants for a dozen technology hubs across the country. /ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO/CAROLYN KASTER

PROVIDENCE – A federally designated blue tech hub encompassing Rhode Island and Massachusetts has issued its first call for ocean technology projects.

The Ocean Tech Hub of Southeastern New England, one of 31 tech hubs that the Biden administration announced as a funding recipient in October, last week released a request for concept papers for “commercially viable projects that will help Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts build on their national leadership in the Blue Economy.”

The Rhode Island-Massachusetts consortium is the only chosen initiative that will focus exclusively on blue tech and could receive up to $70 million in funding.

Consortium guidelines call for proposals that involve undersea robotics and sensors with autonomous capability; artificial intelligence or machine learning related to undersea technology; or advanced materials manufacturing capable of tolerating an ocean environment.

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In a statement, R.I. Commerce Secretary Elizabeth M. Tanner said that the two-state partnership is “uniquely positioned to play a leading role in this national growth” as the blue economy is projected to grow by almost 3 billion in the next 10 years.

“Leveraging our existing assets and nationally leading expertise, the Ocean Tech Hub will unleash the potential of ocean research and innovative blue economy technologies that will power our future and create economic opportunities in New England and beyond,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mass. Gov. Maura T. Healey said that the Bay State “looks forward to supporting the South Coast organizations looking to participate in these programs, and to continue advancing our whole-of-government strategy to secure federal funding for our communities.”

Submissions are due Dec. 18, and the hub plans to submit three to eight proposals to the U.S. Economic Development Administration for phase two funding.

The hub’s membership includes Brown University, the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, the University of Rhode Island, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 401 Tech Bridge, and the R.I. Department of Labor and Training, among various other government, workforce and entrepreneurial representatives.

Jacquelyn Voghel is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at Voghel@PBN.com.

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