Economic Development Organization 401 Tech Bridge Completes $6 Million Funding Round — Includes The Addition Of Advanced Materials And Technology Center In Portsmouth

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PORTSMOUTH, RI — August 18, 2020 — 401 Tech Bridge, an economic development organization that connects manufacturers, small businesses, research and development entities, trade organizations and state and defense agencies to collaborate in the development of new advanced materials and technologies, today announced the completion of a $6 million funding round. A recently secured $2.3 million implementation grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) rounds out the capital raise to support the launch of 401 Tech Bridge, which includes the addition of a new 17,000-square-foot Advanced Materials and Technology Center in Portsmouth, RI.

The EDA grant will cover construction costs for the new Advanced Materials and Technology Center, expected to open in the first half of 2021. Additional funding to create the 401 Tech Bridge organization was provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP); the Office of Naval Research; the Rhode Island Innovation Campus; the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation; The Rhode Island Foundation; and the van Beuren Charitable Foundation.

“We are thrilled to be awarded this EDA grant that will further accelerate 401 Tech Bridge’s collaborative technology commercialization, increase jobs and aid the regional economic recovery,” said Christian Cowan, Chief Operating Officer of the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation, who conceived of the 401 Tech Bridge and brought its team and funders together. “Since its inception, 401 Tech Bridge has been leveraging its relationships to connect technologies to the organizations that can commercialize them—including being the first site to partner with the Office of Naval Research’s Naval X Tech Bridge initiative to expand collaboration and innovation among the Navy, academia and regional companies. Ultimately this helps to get advanced materials and technology innovations into the hands of users, for the benefit of all.”

As the first center of its kind in Rhode Island, the Portsmouth facility will include lab space for prototyping, testing and proof-of-concept builds; collaborative space for industry, government and academia to work with partners on design, modeling, testing and digital verification; a convertible open meeting space for presentations, training seminars, and events; and office space. Companies will be able to work with cross-functional teams to develop new ideas, and large entities can sponsor projects that leverage the expertise of small companies, universities and others. This site will help support and accelerate the growth of three key industries in the state of Rhode Island and its surrounding region—composites, textiles and undersea technology—and is expected to create 400 high-value Rhode Island jobs.

“Composites and textiles connect our past and future in Rhode Island’s economy,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who worked with industry and academic partners to convene both the Composites Alliance of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Textiles Innovation Network, and advocated for this 401 Tech Bridge grant. “This award is a milestone in our years-long collaboration within and between the two industries. The funding comes in time to boost our economy with local job growth in industries with a storied history, now uniquely positioned for innovation, growth and success.”

The new Advanced Materials and Technology Center facility will help further the ongoing work that 401 Tech Bridge has implemented on behalf of its partner organizations. It will substantially add to the capabilities of the newly opened 190,000-square-foot Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering at the University of Rhode Island’s Kingston campus, which facilitates transformational research, prototyping, testing and validation of concepts and engagement with industry partners, faculty researchers and students on sponsored projects.

“This is another positive step toward developing a strong, sustainable technological ecosystem here in Rhode Island,” added Senator Jack Reed. “This federal funding will help 401 Tech Bridge and its partners build on their success and attract more opportunities for entrepreneurship, investment, and innovation.”

401 Tech Bridge provides opportunities and resources to galvanize advanced materials and technology commercialization efforts and quickly meet changing demands for national defense, infrastructure and healthcare. The organization was formed to create a center of excellence to connect innovative companies to business opportunities—facilitating collaboration across industry, government and academia; opening R&D pathways; leveraging Rhode Island’s leadership in advanced materials and technology; navigating complex business relationships; and accelerating manufacturing development. It serves as a super-connector for Rhode Island companies that are developing leading-edge advanced materials and technologies; governmental organizations and major corporations with funded projects that call for advanced materials and technologies; and the region’s academic institutions who have related knowledge base and research capabilities. By facilitating these unprecedented connections and collaboration throughout its network, 401 Tech Bridge acts as a one-stop resource to help companies accelerate the journey from concept to prototype to commercialization while making the transfer of technology faster, easier and more collaborative.

Posted August 18, 2020

Source: 401 Tech Bridge 

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