[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Illinois Fermentation and Agriculture Biomanufacturing (iFAB) Hub is slated to be awarded approximately $51 million by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), selected as one of 12 national recipients for Tech Hub Phase II funding. Duckworth and Durbin have been champions of iFAB and advocated fiercely for its selection as a Tech Hub and subsequent funding. With today’s funding announcement, iFAB can unlock hundreds of millions in investment in Illinois, supporting jobs and helping grow the biomanufacturing industry in Illinois. The iFAB Tech Hub seeks to scale precision fermentation to convert underutilized corn feedstocks into high-value, customized alternative proteins, food ingredients, materials, chemicals and more.

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“I’m so pleased iFAB is receiving this critical Tech Hub funding, unlocking innovation, investment and job creation for years to come,” Duckworth said. “Illinois is already a hub of agriculture, manufacturing, transportation and technology, making our state ideally positioned for these Tech Hub awards. I was proud to help pass the CHIPS and Science Act , and I’m thrilled that with programs like iFAB we’re making it clear our state has the projects and innovation ready to harness the law’s new investments and help bring our state, nation and world into the future.”

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“With today’s news, Illinois will remain a global leader in biotechnology and biomanufacturing—especially in critical fields like food and agriculture—and will stimulate local economies, and improve food security for decades to come,” said Durbin. “I commend the Biden-Harris Administration for their innovative CHIPS and Science Act, and for establishing the Tech Hubs program. I look forward to seeing all iFAB can achieve for future generations.”

The Tech Hubs program was authorized by the CHIPS and Science Act and will directly invest in high-potential regions across the country to transform them into globally competitive innovation centers. A total of 31 Tech Hubs were selected nationwide from regional consortia that include industry, academia, state and local governments, economic development organizations and labor and workforce partners, with 12 today receiving funding.

This funding for iFAB will support the growing biomanufacturing entrepreneurial ecosystem, critical infrastructure projects for lab space and multi-use facilities and much-needed workforce development training programs. By leveraging its regional assets in corn and soy feedstocks, food processing infrastructure, and research leadership, this Tech Hub will provide a domestic biomanufacturing testbed through the development and deployment of multi-use pilot and demonstration capacity and equipment for biomanufacturing innovators while also training a skilled workforce.

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