EDA: $2.3 Million Invested to Establish Advanced Materials Innovation Center Near Rhode Island Opportunity Zone

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2.3 million grant to the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation, Kingston, Rhode Island, to establish the “401 Tech Bridge” advanced materials innovation center at two sites: the University of Rhode Island in Kingston for direct university research, and the Polaris Manufacturing Extension Partnership-led facility in Portsmouth for industry collaboration, research and development and product testing. The EDA grant, to be located near a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $790,000 in local funds, is expected to help create 400 jobs and generate $440,000 in private investment.

“The Trump Administration is committed to advancing American innovation by enabling new industries to grow and succeed,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This partnership between the University of Rhode Island and the Polaris Manufacturing Extension Partnership will establish an advanced materials innovation, product development, and testing center to accelerate the development of new materials and support Rhode Island’s manufacturing sector.”

“This EDA investment will support the establishment of the ‘401 Tech Bridge’ advanced materials innovation center by renovating an existing industrial building in Portsmouth for industry collaboration, research and development, and product testing,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This collaboration between the University of Rhode Island, the Polaris Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and local industry will accelerate the development of new advanced materials, and the project’s location near an Opportunity Zone will help to drive private investment into the region and foster economic diversification.”

The funding announced today will catalyze private investment in a nearby Opportunity Zone. Created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017Opportunity Zones are spurring economic development in economically-distressed communities nationwide. In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas. To learn more about the Commerce Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, please visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Opportunity Now resources webpage. To learn more about Opportunity Zone best practices, see the recently released White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council Report (PDF) to President Trump.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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