$500M in grants will fund new US tech hubs 

The Commerce Department on Friday is launching the application process for cities to receive a total of $500 million in grants to become technology hubs, according to the Associated Press. 

The $500 million is part of a $10 billion authorization from last year’s CHIPS and Science Act to stimulate investments in new technologies such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and biotech. It’s an attempt to expand tech investment that is largely concentrated around a few U.S. cities to the rest of the country. 

The Biden administration has made it a priority to set an industrial strategy of directing government investment into computer chips, clean energy, and a range of other technologies. Officials say that being leaders in those fields will foster economic and national security. 

The tech hubs are meant to build up areas that already have major research specialties but lack the access to financing that could fuel stronger growth and business formation in those fields. 

To qualify for the tech hub money, each applicant will need a partnership that includes one or more companies, a state development agency, worker training programs, a university, and state and local government leaders. Roughly 20 cities are expected to be designated as tech hubs, with 10 eventually receiving funding. 

President Biden hopes to broaden the funding over time, requesting in his budget proposal that Congress appropriate another $4 billion for it over the next two years.