On Oct. 23, President Joe Biden and the Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced the Greater Baltimore Region’s selection as one of 31 federal Tech Hubs, a designation that could bring hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to the area as part of a national program to make the country globally competitive in emerging technologies.
Selected from a pool of close to 400 applicants, the region’s bid was led by the Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) and developed by a 38-member consortium of area tech firms, state and local government entities, economic development corporations, and academic institutions, including the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB).
“The Baltimore Tech Hub designation is a great addition to the network of technology development and advancement resources at UMB and throughout the region,” said James L. Hughes, MBA, senior vice president and chief enterprise and economic development officer at UMB. “With our strong focus on health care and biotechnology, along with the newly formed Institute of Health Computing, UMB is well-positioned to create next-generation predictive health care technologies that positively transform lives.”
The Baltimore region’s hub will focus on artificial intelligence (AI) and biotechnology, with a specific focus on predictive technologies — a tech subset with the potential to improve health outcomes individually and systemically. The predictive technologies market is expected to be $70 billion globally by 2030, and GBC estimates the EDA program will inject an estimated $500 million in federal funds over five years, generating an estimated $4.2 billion in economic growth and 52,000 jobs for the region by 2030.
A member of the consortium, UMB is one of the country’s pre-eminent public research universities and a thriving biomedical research institution. Nearly 1,200 faculty at UMB received $692 million in extramural funding in areas including cancer, genomics, vaccines, neuroscience, vascular biology, HIV/AIDS, and regenerative medicine. With a longstanding commitment to collaboration and partnership with the global life-sciences industry, the University conducted over $63 million in corporate-sponsored research in Fiscal Year 2022 and works with more than 300 bioscience and pharmaceutical firms.
UMB is also one of the state’s most powerful economic drivers, with an economic impact on Maryland of $3.2 billion last year. The University of Maryland BioPark, Baltimore’s biggest biotechnology cluster, plays a vital role in that impact as it fuels the commercialization of new drugs, treatments, and medical devices.
“This designation will catalyze a transformative era of growth, innovation, and equitable economic opportunity for our region,” said Mark Anthony Thomas, GBC president and CEO, who introduced President Biden during the official announcement for Tech Hubs at the White House.
Authorized by the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act, the newly designated Tech Hubs are located across 32 states and Puerto Rico, with representation in both heavily populated cities and rural areas. During his remarks at the White House, Thomas hailed the transformative impact of such federal programs on Baltimore and urban regions across the country.
“Like many post-industrial communities in America, Baltimore has faced longstanding challenges, suffered economic setbacks, and, until recently, lacked the federal support to tell a brighter, more vibrant story of the community I know and love,” said Thomas. “The truth is cities like Baltimore are brimming with possibility. They are filled with diverse, entrepreneurial minds, they are epicenters of rich histories, and they are right for the sort of catalytic investment that can spark local economies. They just need the right support to leverage those possibilities.”
During Phase 2 of the program, each Tech Hub will apply for implementation funding by outlining their plans to operationalize projects to manufacture, commercialize, and deploy critical technologies. Fund allocation is expected to be announced in early 2024.