Gov. Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority have announced their support for four regional coalition applications for the Build Back Better Regional Challenge, a $1 billion grant program announced by the U.S. Economic Development Administration in conjunction with the American Rescue Plan.
The EDA will join forces with regional industry clusters built around biomanufacturing, clean energy, aviation and smart ports. (The EDA will host a webinar on the applicants at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Watch here.)
The Build Back Better Regional Challenge will fund projects that create high-quality jobs, increase wages and revitalize communities in places that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications must be centered around developing or growing a regional industry cluster, with a long-term transformational vision and a plan for execution.
If selected, the applicants eventually could receive up to $100 million in assistance for their projects.
Here are the four applicants that received EDA support:
The Aviation Innovation Coalition
This coalition, led by Atlantic County and the Atlantic County Economic Alliance, is focused on smart aviation and aerospace in South Jersey, including advanced air mobility, advanced air cargo and uncrewed aerial systems. The coalition is considering infrastructure construction projects, including a vertiport and droneport; airspace planning; workforce training programs; microgrants for underrepresented youth to develop aviation innovations and businesses; and curricula for regional high schools and colleges focused on UAS and AAM.
Individuals and organizations interested in sharing project ideas or joining the aviation innovation coalition should reach out to AviationBBBRC@njeda.com by noon Sept. 28.
The Biomanufacturing Coalition
This coalition, led by Rutgers University, is focused on advanced manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and developing new, more efficient ways to produce medicines to reduce reliance on foreign drug manufacturing and shorten supply chains to help patients. The coalition is also working on training an expanded workforce on new and unique manufacturing processes, enabling digital design of products and processes, accelerating pharmaceutical product and manufacturing process development, and developing real time quality assurance processes.
This coalition leverages existing physical, educational and talent assets in the Northeast corridor, including the NJ BioScience Center, the New Brunswick Innovation HUB, BioCentriq at New Jersey Institute of Technology, major research institutions, community colleges and major biopharma companies with headquarters in New Jersey.
Individuals and organizations interested in sharing project ideas or joining the biomanufacturing coalition should reach out to BiomanufacturingBBBRC@njeda.com by noon Sept. 28.
The Clean Energy Coalition
This coalition, led by Rowan University, includes multiple other higher education partners and thought leaders in the clean energy space. It aims to build on the Murphy administration’s investments in decarbonizing the state’s economy by expanding New Jersey’s clean energy sector — specifically offshore wind, clean transport, energy storage and smart grid technologies. The coalition is considering infrastructure projects, workforce training and business acceleration efforts to support the manufacturing supply chain for clean energy.
Individuals and organizations interested in sharing project ideas or joining the clean energy coalition should reach out to CleanEnergyBBBRC@njeda.com by noon Sept. 28.
The Smart Ports Regional Coalition
This coalition is led by the city of Newark in partnership with NJIT and additional partners, including Port Newark Container Terminal, Invest Newark and the North Jersey Transportation Authority. It is focused on optimizing ports in the greater Newark area to expand regional economic impact and spur large-scale job creation. The coalition will focus on innovative transportation systems, including industry projects of advanced technologies for freight movement, clean energy, data analytics and secured IT systems, supply chain improvements, workforce development, facility design and an online property marketplace for off-port related businesses.
Individuals and organizations interested in sharing project ideas or joining the smart ports coalition should reach out to SmartPortsBBBRC@njeda.com by noon Sept. 28.
The Build Back Better Challenge is a two-phase competition. Here’s how it will work:
- Applicants as a regional coalition with one lead entity per application. Eligible coalition members include government entities, nonprofits and higher education institutions. For-profit entities cannot be a primary coalition applicant, but can participate as “coalition partners” offering industry expertise, commit to investment or job creation related to the industry cluster, and formally express support for the coalition’s application.
- Interested regions should form coalitions of eligible entities and collaborate to develop a proposal that outlines a vision for the development or expansion of a new or existing regional industry or industries, as well a collection of 3-8 potential projects that support that vision. Proposals are due by Oct. 19;
- The U.S. EDA will select 50-60 Phase 1 coalition finalists and award technical assistance grants of up to $500,000 each, through a lead institution, to further develop the coalition’s concept and collection of projects for their regional growth cluster;
- The finalists will compete for significant implementation assistance. The U.S. EDA will award 20-30 coalitions each a total of $25-75 million (and potentially up to $100 million). These awards will assist communities in executing ambitious plans to supercharge their regional economies across a variety of strategic growth sectors.
More info is here.