Published On: 10/23/2023Categories: Agbiosciences, AgriNovus News, AgTech, Economic Development

Indiana’s Applied Research Institute Secures Regional Tech Hub Designation for Heartland Bioworks

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Consortium of Indiana Stakeholders now Designated a Federal Technology and Innovation Hub Eligible to Compete for $75 million in Funding for U.S. Biotech Supply Chain Innovation


The Applied Research Institute, Inc. (“ARI”) announced today that the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration has designated Heartland BioWorks as a Regional Technology and Innovation Hub. Heartland BioWorks will now compete against other designated hubs for implementation grants of up to $75 million each later this year.

The Regional Tech Hub designation, and the funding that follows, will support the acceleration of workforce development and help dismantle barriers to success for entrepreneurs and small business owners with new biotech products.

Led by the Applied Research Institute, Heartland BioWorks is a consortium of Indiana stakeholders driven by strong collaborative innovation practices to ensure that bioproducts invented in America are also produced domestically. Indiana’s Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson metropolitan statistical area features the unmatched collection of resources and capabilities necessary to become the world-leading force that secures our nation’s biomanufacturing future. The region is home to landmark industry leaders that span the bioecosystem; R1 institutions focused on biotechnology and manufacturing innovations; coordinated state-regional-local prioritization of life sciences to advance economic opportunities; a rapidly growing venture ecosystem; and significant biotech investment momentum.

“The Economic Development Administration, with this designation, confirms what we here in Indiana have known for a long time—that the Hoosier state is a global pioneer in biotech production,” said Applied Research Institute Chief Executive Officer Dave Roberts. “Heartland BioWorks is securing America’s biotech future, and this Hub will provide biotech startups with access to manufacturing facilities and expertise, implement the workforce training future biotech innovations require, and focus on engaging innovators in historically underserved communities.”

“When I authored the Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs program, my goal was to spur more innovation in technologies of the future in places like Indiana, rather than just Silicon Valley and a few coastal cities,” said Indiana Senator Todd Young. “Today’s announcement to designate Heartland Bioworks as a Tech Hub is a recognition of Indiana’s leadership in biotechnology and synthetic biology research and manufacturing, and another major win for Hoosiers. This designation could lead to millions in federal investment and will open the floodgates for more private capital in biotech R&D across the state.”

“This is just the news we hoped to receive. The EDA’s designation of Heartland BioWorks as a Regional Tech Hub is a recognition of Indiana’s rich tradition of innovation and leadership in both the manufacturing and life science sectors,” said Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb. “We‘ll continue to strongly support the Hub and look forward to moving forward in the process.”

“This new Tech Hub designation is yet another win for Indiana as we work to foster and cultivate the industries of tomorrow,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce David Rosenberg. “Heartland BioWorks’ multifaceted approach to advancing biotechnology and biomanufacturing will nurture industry-specific startups, investments and R&D, driving life-changing products and life-saving solutions leveraged across the world. This will also create profound opportunities for our state’s brightest minds to innovate and collaborate, while cementing the U.S. and Indiana as the leading hub for biotech manufacturing.”

“Today’s announcement is another step toward Central Indiana leading the country in innovation and unlocking the opportunity to bring millions of dollars in Federal funding to achieve those goals,” said Central Indiana Regional Development Authority executive director Jennifer Messer. “CIRDA’s collaboration with and support of ARI to secure this designation will impact the Central Indiana region for decades to come.”

“As Fishers grows its foothold in the life science industry, it’s critical that we tap into every resource available to reinvest in key sectors, workforce, and innovation,” remarked Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness. “Today’s announcement opens up the possibilities we’ve been working toward and we look forward to collaborating with ARI and our collaboration partners to execute on this opportunity.”

“As the birthplace of the historic, world pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co., and as the recipient of more than $1.5 billion in new biotech investment in under a decade, Indianapolis has an attractive portfolio in this field,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett. “That was why the City of Indianapolis was proud to join and advocate on behalf of Heartland BioWorks. The news of the Regional Tech Hub designation represents enormous potential for employability and prosperity in Indianapolis.”

Indiana stakeholders have described the need for more dedicated manufacturing operations and innovation space. The Regional Tech Hubs program will catalyze further production, which will foster innovation and encourage more businesses to start and grow in Indiana.

Heartland BioWorks will initially focus on three integrated activities that address “biotechnology, medical technology, genomics, and synthetic biology” gaps identified by the Economic Development Administration in both the region and nation:


BioWorks Training Institute: BioWorks will establish an institute to provide training and industry work experiences to prepare trainees for high-paying jobs that support the growing biomanufacturing sector. The institute will be established at the 16 Tech Innovation District, located in a historically vibrant, now underserved, neighborhood in downtown Indianapolis, and leverage the nation’s largest community college system, Ivy Tech.


BioWorks Bioproduct Launch Network: Small biotechs and startups are often forced to offshore their production because they lack the resources and scale needed to work with U.S. contract development and manufacturing organizations or justify development of their own production facility. BioLaunch will coordinate and implement mechanisms to access the region’s contract manufacturers and distributors, addressing lab-to-launch gaps, while keeping innovations, intellectual property, and jobs in the US.


BioWorks Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Network: The White House, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, all recognize that America’s biopharma manufacturing sector must continue to modernize to remain competitive and deliver value to patients. BioMake will provide resources, funding, and coordinated access to a partner facility dedicated to testing and demonstrating next generation biomanufacturing technologies (e.g., high-intensity processing, continuous manufacturing, advanced automation, on-line analytics, intelligent sensors, modular production, AI/ML) to improve the efficiency, capability, and cost of operations.

This is the third federal hub designation secured by Applied Research Institute led and supported coalitions in the past month, including the Department of Defense Microelectronics Commons technology hub designation of Silicon Crossroads and the Department of Energy Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs designations of the Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen (MachH2). This will potentially lead to hundreds of million in investments secured by the Applied Research Institute for the State of Indiana in the coming months.

Additional information about the Heartland Bioworks Regional Technology Hub can be found at:

Statements from Heartland BioWorks Partners and Supporters

David A. Ricks, Eli Lilly and Company Chair and Chief Executive Officer: “We at Lilly are happy to hear the news today about Indiana being selected as a regional bio tech hub as part of Phase 1. We firmly believe in the mission and vision set forth by Heartland BioWorks to become the world leader in life science talent development, start-up creation, reshoring, and supply chain resilience and look forward to working on Phase 2.”

Fred Cartwright, President and Chief Executive Officer of Conexus Indiana: “Conexus Indiana looks forward to continuing its role to grow and advance Indiana’s advanced manufacturing and logistics sectors. With over 130 industry, academic, community and public sector partners, Conexus ensures Indiana remains a global leader in making and moving products that impact the world. We are excited to engage our network to accomplish Heartland BioWorks’ goals in all three critical areas of talent (BioTrain), start-ups (BioLaunch) and advancements in manufacturing (BioMake).”

Pamela Whitten, Indiana University President and Member of the Applied Research Institute Board of Directors: “The designation of Heartland BioWorks as a Regional Technology and Innovation Hub is a crucial step that will continue the growing strength of Indiana’s biotech ecosystem,” said Pamela Whitten, president of Indiana University. “We look forward to our continued collaboration with ARI as we advance life-changing research, workforce development and entrepreneurship across Indiana’s life sciences sector.”

Mung Chiang, Purdue University President and Member of the Applied Research Institute Board of Directors: “Regional Tech Hubs from the U.S. Department of Commerce is a crucial competition for the tech driven economy in our country, and a key element of the CHIPS and Science Act championed by Senator Young. This is a pivotal win for our state and our university,” said Purdue University President Mung Chiang. “Purdue is excited to work with ARI, and through Governor Holcomb’s support, to win 3 out of 3 national competitions this season: in semiconductors from Department of Defense, in hydrogen innovation from Department of Energy, and now in biotech manufacturing from Department of Commerce. Each is a 10% success rate opportunity and hitting all three is yet another reflection of our excellence at scale.”

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., President of the University of Notre Dame: “The University of Notre Dame is proud to partner with our fellow Indiana research universities and institutions to support life sciences job creation and economic development across the state. Notre Dame’s research ecosystem has long supported forward-thinking, interdisciplinary collaboration between bioengineering and data science, setting the stage for the next generation of biomanufacturing technology. We look forward to contributing that experience to the Heartland BioWorks Hub and specifically, BioMake.”

José Padilla, Valparaiso University’s President: “This designation of the Heartland BioWorks Regional Technology and Innovation Hub can elevate Northwest Indiana, a region on the cusp of a much needed economic renaissance. This Hub has the potential to foster innovation and create high-quality jobs while addressing national biotech gaps. Valparaiso University is called to exercise its faith by applying its expertise to the broader community, expertise that will empower our neighbors with skills to rise above economic swings and therefore last a lifetime. The faculty, staff and students of Valpo look forward to working alongside ARI and the Heartland BioWorks team as we compete for the implementation grants that will spark economic growth in the Region,” states President José Padilla of Valparaiso University.

Alan D. Palkowitz, President and CEO of the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute (IBRI): “We are very proud to be a partner with Indiana corporations and research institutions in reaching this key milestone for the state, and all who will benefit from the Heartland BioWorks vision. At the IBRI, we are committed to becoming a key contributor to delivering on the vast potential of Indiana life sciences research to impact patients, and to catalyze the growth of a thriving entrepreneurial community. This will become a key component of the tech hub’s signature for Indiana that links breakthrough life sciences research with biomanufacturing innovation.”

Congresswoman Erin Houchin (Indiana-09): “Indiana has long been a place for technological innovation. We welcome this recognition and hope it will lead to further expansion of our state’s regional—and increasingly national impact. I am particularly proud to see so many Southern Indiana players contribute to this effort. I commend Heartland BioWorks and the Applied Research Institute for their hard work in promoting Indiana’s biotechnology assets and look forward to continuing our progress together,” said Congresswoman Erin Houchin.

Whitney Ertel, Governor’s Workforce Cabinet Executive Director: “The Governor’s Workforce Cabinet applauds the EDA’s decision to designate Heartland BioWorks as a Regional Innovation and Technology Hub, as Indiana has long been home to an unmatched biotech and manufacturing ecosystem. This initiative is a game-changer for the U.S., Indiana and the Hoosiers whose lives will be impacted by accelerated workforce development, the creation of good-paying jobs and expanded economic opportunities. Chairman Ryan Kitchell, Cabinet members and I champion the leadership and efforts of the Heartland BioWorks collaborative as it works to advance America’s biotech future and thank Senator Todd Young for his leadership in making the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 possible.”

Emily Krueger, 16 Tech Community Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer: “The Regional Tech Hub designation recognizes the current strength and future potential of the Indiana’s biomanufacturing ecosystem. As the most centrally located access point to the state’s innovation ecosystem, 16 Tech is excited to be a part of Heartland Bio Works Consortium and to collaborate on key resources to support the future of this critical sector.”

Christopher Day, Elevate Ventures Chief Executive Officer: “We are extremely excited to support Heartland BioWorks. Indiana is quickly becoming the Innovation Capital of the World and working with all the disparate stakeholders to make this a reality is an honor. As the #1 most active seed and early-stage investor in the Great Lakes region and top twenty in the world, we are excited to support the innovation that will no doubt be born from this cross collaboration.”

Nitesh Chawla, the Frank M. Freimann Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, Director of Lucy Family Institute for Data & Society, and the University of Notre Dame’s Lead on the BioWorks Hub Collaboration: “We are thrilled to be a part of the BioWorks effort, which has significant potential to transform the national biotech sector and the regional economy. Notre Dame houses multiple assets that support biotechnology and next-gen data science, and incorporating these capabilities into the BioWorks ecosystem will help accelerate manufacturing capabilities statewide.”

Lead Applicant & State of Indiana

  • Applied Research Institute
  • State of Indiana
  • State of Indiana Full Congressional Delegation


  • BiomEdit
  • Catalent
  • Cook Medical
  • Corteva Agriscience
  • Elanco
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Evonik Industries
  • Genezen
  • INCOG BioPharma Services
  • Langham Logistics
  • MBX Biosciences
  • Roche

Higher Education

  • Indiana University
  • Ivy Tech Community College
  • Martin University
  • Purdue University
  • Tougaloo College Research & Development Foundation
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Valparaiso University

Economic Development Organizations

  • 16 Tech Community Corporation
  • Agrinovus
  • AnalytixIN
  • BioCrossroads
  • Central Indiana Regional Development Authority
  • Conexus
  • Indiana Biosciences Research Institute
  • Purdue Center for Regional Development
  • TechPoint
  • The Central Indiana Corporate Partnership

Labor & Workforce

  • Ascend
  • Central Indiana Building and Construction Trades Council
  • EmployIndy
  • INVets

Local Governments

  • City of Fishers
  • City of Indianapolis


  • Elevate Ventures
  • The National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals
  • Purdue University Manufacturing Extension Partnership