401 Tech Bridge, a newly formed economic development organization, has closed on a $6 million funding round. The organization was founded to connect 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 for real-world applications.
Composites and textiles were among the three key industries identified to benefit from the organization’s work. With expertise ranging from infrastructure development and naval research to oceanographic and offshore wind solutions, needs-based collaborations are expected to reduce barriers and speed technology advancement and commercialization.
A recently secured $2.3-million implementation grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration rounds out the capital raised and will fund the construction of a new, 17,000 square foot Advanced Materials and Technology Center in Portsmouth, R.I. It’s 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.
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.” https://401techbridge.org/