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Department of Commerce funds South Florida ClimateReady Tech Hub

Department of Commerce funds South Florida ClimateReady Tech Hub

July 2, 2024 at 5:09pm

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo was in Miami on Tuesday to announce $19 million in funding for the Tech Hubs program, authorized by the CHIPS and Science Act.

South Florida ClimateReady Tech Hub, one of 12 hubs across the nation, is a consortium led by Miami-Dade County Innovation and Economic Development Office. The South Florida Tech Hub aims to advance the region’s global leadership in sustainable and resilient infrastructure while scaling up the production and delivery of critical technologies that will strengthen America’s clean energy transition and national security.

“Innovative research that generates cutting-edge technology to solve some of the most pressing issues is the reason why FIU is at the epicenter of the major infrastructure thrust of the South Florida Climate Resilience Tech Hub,” said FIU President Kenneth A. Jessell. “Along with our South Florida consortium of partners, FIU is focused on advancing sustainable and resilient infrastructure innovation by developing, commercializing, and scaling technologies focused on climate adaptation and mitigation.”

Of the $19 million coming to the South Florida ClimateReady Tech Hub, $10 million will go to FIU for projects that include:

  • Technology Development and Maturation. Accelerate the readiness and expand deployment of cement technologies such as those developed by Titan America, FIU’s Ultra High Performance Concrete, and CaptureCrete, developed by Carbon Limit. In all cases, these aim to ensure durability, reducing concrete emissions and in some cases, turning concrete into a carbon-absorbing sponge.
  • Climate Ready Infrastructure Innovation Center. Over the next five years, partners will provide services and mentorship to at least 60 infrastructure innovation startups and small businesses. Companies will have access to research and development equipment, fabrication space, deployment opportunities, production facilities, technology testing and validation and experts in academia and industry. Additional support provided will include market segmentation and access to capital.
  • Industry Codes and Standards. Consortium institutions will provide expertise and input for improvement of building codes and standards, work on policies to incorporate new materials and technologies, and give regulators guidance on which standards to enforce and recommendations to streamline the approval process.
Leadership of this resilient infrastructure initiative at FIU will be provided by the Innovative Bridge Technologies University Transportation CenterStartUp FIU, and the FIU Extreme Events Institute’s Wall of Wind.

FIU will also help support the workforce development component of the ClimateReady Tech Hub, which received $6 million in funding. That effort, led my Miami Dade College’s Miami Tech Works, will also include Florida Memorial University, and local CareerSource offices, to leverage existing community partnerships among employers, educational institutions, and community-based organizations to ensure access to training and job opportunities for the region’s diverse communities.

Other partners include Titan America, the University of Miami and the Knight Foundation.

In October 2023, South Florida Climate Resilience Tech Hub was selected as one of 31 Designated Tech Hubs in regions across the country as part of Phase 1 of the new Tech Hubs Program, a flagship initiative aimed at advancing U.S. leadership in critical technologies and industries. The designation is a strong endorsement of the consortium’s regional plan to supercharge its respective critical technology ecosystem and become a global leader in the next decade.

This funding comes on the heels of the recent announcement of FIU as one of four Preeminent Research Universities in the State of Florida System, and recent investments from the Department of Commerce announced by FIU and the Florida Congressional Delegation. These include $9 million for the launch of an autonomous systems laboratory for Coastal Conservation and $4.05 million to support windstorm research; both supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).