October 24, 2023

RI Delegation & Governor McKee Announce RI Ocean Tech Hub Designation

U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) selects the Ocean State to help lead the nation in developing innovative industries critical to national security and economic growth

WASHINGTON, DC – Building on decades of investment, research, and innovation in undersea robotics and ocean engineering, Rhode Island has been identified as one of 31 regions driving American global competitiveness in key technology areas.

Today, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representative Seth Magaziner joined Governor Dan McKee to announce that the Biden Administration has designated Rhode Island to be home to one of 31 inaugural regional Tech Hubs across the country.

This first-of-its-kind designation was authorized by the CHIPS and Science Act. Rhode Island was selected due to the Ocean State’s potential for rapid growth in undersea robotics, automation, and advanced materials. This designation also positions Rhode Island to compete for the next phase of Tech Hubs Program funding, which will invest between $50 to $75 million in at least 5 regional hubs.

The Ocean Tech Hub, a consortium led by Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, will leverage the Ocean State’s unique coastal assets – including seven commercial ports and shallow and deep ocean access – to establish digital and physical testing and manufacturing environments for rapid prototype testing and delivery to meet the growing commercial demand. In doing so, the Ocean Tech Hub seeks to advance ocean technology innovation and become a global leader in the growing ocean economy.

“The Ocean State is a leader in ocean tech and the Blue Economy and I commend the Biden Administration for selecting Rhode Island as one of the 31 inaugural Tech Hubs,” said Senator Reed. “This Tech Hub designation, paired with federal funding for Rhode Island, will help foster more collaboration and development across our region to position the Ocean State as a global leader in undersea automation and technological development.”

“Rhode Island’s location and access to talent has long positioned our state to be a leader in innovation across growing sectors, including cutting edge technology and artificial intelligence,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “I am pleased that the Ocean State received a Tech Hub designation and Strategy Development Grant which will help drive local and interstate collaboration to create jobs, foster talent, and strengthen our local and regional economy for generations.”

“Rhode Island’s heritage as a leader in manufacturing, innovation and marine science is alive and well,” said Representative Seth Magaziner. “The federal designation of the Ocean Tech Hub will help ensure that Rhode Island will be home to good-paying jobs in cutting-edge fields for generations to come.”

“I want to thank the Biden Administration for designating Rhode Island as one of 31 inaugural Tech Hubs across the country that show potential for rapid growth in key technology sectors,” said Governor Dan McKee. “Ocean technology and the ocean economy have been a part of the innovation ecosystem in Rhode Island and the Southeastern New England region for decades. This Tech Hubs Designation validates Rhode Island’s national position in this growing global market and gives us the fuel to build critical infrastructure that will further drive U.S. economic and national security.”

This designation is part of the first phase of the novel Tech Hubs program that will invest directly in high-potential U.S. regions and aims to transform these regions into globally competitive innovation centers. Designation is an endorsement of the region’s strategy to supercharge their respective technological industry to create jobs and strengthen U.S. economic and national security.

In addition to being named home to the nation’s first Ocean Tech Hub, Rhode Island is also receiving a $346,496 Tech Hubs Strategy Development Grant that will help the consortium increase local coordination and planning activities across Southern New England. These funds will help strengthen the region’s capacity to manufacture, commercialize, and deploy critical ocean technologies that have wide-ranging applicability for industries ranging from aquaculture to shipping to climate mitigation and telecommunications.


The 31 Tech Hubs were selected from 198 applications from regional consortia that include industry, academia, state and local governments, economic development organizations, and labor and workforce partners. The Tech Hubs span regions across 32 states and Puerto Rico and represent a cross section of urban and rural regions.

For a full list of Tech Hubs, visit TechHubs.gov.

Chip Unruh (Reed), 202-224-4642

Meaghan McCabe (Whitehouse), (202) 224-2921

James Kwon (Magaziner), (202) 951-0315

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921