Consortium of Partners from Rhode Island & Southeastern Massachusetts Launch Ocean Tech Hub

In October, Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts were named 1 of 31 Tech Hubs, designated by the Biden-Harris Economic Development Administration (EDA). The Ocean Tech Hub of Southeastern New England (OTH) is a consortium-led cross-state initiative committed to activating the ocean technology ecosystem through research and innovation in undersea robotics, automation, advanced materials, and composites. (Read the full release here).

The OTH strategy builds upon Rhode Island’s Grow Blue initiative and the comprehensive study, Charting the Course: A Regional Assessment of the Marine Science & Technology Sector in Southeastern New England that was conducted by UMass Dartmouth in 2019.

The OTH Consortium, which is being coordinated by Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and includes the NBOC, UMass Dartmouth, the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District, and other partners. As an EDA Tech Hub Designee, the OTH is eligible to compete in Phase 2 of the competition to potentially receive between $40-$70 million in implementation funding to support the advancement of our efforts. Tech Hub proposals are due to the EDA on February 29th and awards will be announced by the summer.

The NBOC has also joined with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) to advance a project to develop and enhance critically needed ocean testing sites, programs and services that will support the commercialization of the key technology focus areas to grow the OTH, with an emphasis on ocean renewable energy (ORE) industry applications. The project’s ocean testing sites and support services will run through, and in parallel with, a new ORE Innovation Center being developed by MassCEC in the Port of New Bedford to support innovation, business incubation, and technology transfer.

Jennifer Downing, NBOC Executive Director believes the regional OTH is poised for success. “Those of us in economic development know that collaboration, especially across state lines, is challenging to say the least. However, it takes leadership and vision to get out of our siloes and look beyond our borders to leverage opportunities that if successful, will only make us stronger together. The Ocean Tech Hub is one such opportunity. Regardless of what happens with this competition, the Ocean Tech Hub is laying a strong foundation for regional collaboration and industry growth into the future.”