News Article

Baltimore ‘Tech Hub’ designation means region could compete for billions in federal economic development funding
October 24, 2023


By: Danielle E. Gaines

Could Maryland become the center of predictive health care in America?

That’s what state officials and business leaders hope with the designation Monday of the Baltimore Tech Hub.

The hub is one of 31 designated across the country by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The designations are meant to spur investment in globally competitive emerging technologies and are a recognition of a region’s potential for growth.

Each of the 31 designated hubs can now compete to receive between $40 million and $70 million each in federal grant funding. Nearly $500 million will be allocated nationwide in a first round of funding, with more than $10 billion in grants available over the next five years.

The Baltimore Tech Hub “will develop innovative and predictive healthcare technologies by applying artificial intelligence to biotechnologies” with the goal to improve equitable health care delivery and improve overall health outcomes.

According to the Greater Baltimore Committee, which coordinated the application, the predictive technologies market is expected to be $70 billion globally by 2030, and the total market opportunity for the Baltimore region could be $4.2 billion.

The industry could create 52,000 jobs in Maryland by 2030, the Greater Baltimore Committee predicted.

Mohan Suntha, who is president and CEO of the University of Maryland Medical System as well as chair of the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Board of Directors, said the application reflected the “collective belief in the potential of predictive health technologies to revolutionize our industries and elevate our entire community.”

“Our region’s strength in healthcare and life sciences, combined with our ongoing collaboration with the burgeoning tech ecosystem, underscores our shared commitment to innovation,” Suntha said. “By harnessing the power of data science and biotechnology, we stand poised to become pioneers in predictive health, with positive impacts on individual patient well-being and community health.”

The Phase 1 tech hub winners were selected from nearly 400 applications.

The economic development program was created by the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act in 2022.

“The CHIPS and Science Act jumpstarted the return of manufacturing across the United States and its Regional Tech Hub program will do the same for high-tech industries and the incredible entrepreneurs across the Baltimore region,” a group of Maryland lawmakers who supported the effort — U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume and David Trone (all D-Md.) — said in a joint statement. “This is about creating new jobs and emerging industries for the long term.”

Baltimore’s tech hub application included 38 partners and was supported by more than 170 elected officials, businesses, universities, and nonprofits.

“For years, the City of Baltimore and the entire region have been nurturing a growing tech industry and welcoming Baltimoreans from all walks of life to help shape the future of tech right here in Charm City,” Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott (D) said in a statement. “By officially designating our region as a tech hub, the Biden Administration is going to accelerate all the great work already happening, fuel a new wave of innovation, and help attract a new wave of talented residents. Our city is excited about the opportunities to create more jobs, continue transforming our region’s economy, and help make the tech revolution an equitable one.”

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski (D) called the designation a “game-changer” for the region. “I am confident that this designation will help provide the support, resources, and opportunities we need to create jobs, grow communities, and transform the entire Baltimore region into an innovative hub that [creates] the tools of tomorrow,” he said.

Pothik Chatterjee, chief economic officer for the Greater Baltimore Committee, said many businesses and organizations in the region are already making strides in the tech arena.

“With this designation, we find ourselves on the verge of an exciting future that benefits the Greater Baltimore Region — its businesses, economy, livelihood — in many ways,” Chatterjee said.