Heartland Robotics Cluster
Coalition Lead Applicant: Invest Nebraska Corporation
Region (applicant-defined): Nebraska
Phase 2 Federal Award: Approximately $25 million
The Heartland Robotics Cluster, led by the Invest Nebraska Corporation, will receive approximately $25 million to accelerate Nebraska’s leadership in the agricultural industry through robotic technologies and advanced manufacturing automation while also revitalizing the region’s rural labor force and strengthening the nation’s food supply chain. The Heartland Robotics Cluster serves as a compelling model for engaging rural communities that are often left behind in technology-based economic development. With 1 in every 4 jobs in the state touching the agricultural sector and not enough workers to meet growing demand, the demand for food products is far outpacing Nebraska’s ability to increase production to capture economic benefits. EDA funding will support expansion of the Nebraska Innovation Studio in robotics-specific programming and prototyping equipment, creating an environment for innovators from across the state and from a variety of demographics to develop automation and robotic solutions to these issues. The coalition will implement seven other projects, including robotics curriculum development; workforce outreach to provide rural areas with opportunities to work with cutting edge technology; technology commercialization efforts in partnership with private industry; and manufacturing demonstration spaces to de-risk adoption of new technologies.