CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is the leader of two federally designated Tech Hubs – one focused on microfluidic technology for semiconductors and the other on mass timber design and manufacturing – announced today by the White House.
The White House, through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, announced the designation of 31 Tech Hubs. They were selected from nearly 400 applications. Oregon State University is the only university to lead two Tech Hubs.
“OSU has long been the state’s engine for economic development and scientific advancement,” said Oregon State President Jayathi Murthy. “These two OSU tech hub teams are outstanding examples of the important role our university plays in promoting economic, social, cultural and environmental progress for the people of Oregon, the nation and the world.”
The Tech Hub program is an economic development initiative designed to drive regional innovation and job creation by strengthening a region’s capacity to manufacture, commercialize and deploy technology that will advance American competitiveness.
“OSU’s unique approach to translation, innovation and partnerships is helping us answer urgent questions of global consequence,” said Oregon State Vice President for Research Irem Tumer. “The Tech Hub program will accelerate our positive collaborations with industry leaders to develop sustainable, human-centered applications for breakthrough research.”
The Tech Hub designation allows the two Oregon State-led projects to apply for awards between $40 million and $70 million. Five to 10 Tech Hubs are expected to receive those grants, which will total nearly $500 million.
The Corvallis Microfluidics Tech Hub aims to establish global leadership in the development, scaling, and commercialization of microfluidics technology for use in semiconductor and electronics cooling. Microfluidics refers to precisely controlling small volumes of liquid.
Through the development, scaling and commercialization of microfluidics technologies, this group will create a platform for high-performance computing, biotechnology, advanced energy, and advanced materials and manufacturing companies to collaboratively demonstrate microfluidics technologies.
“The CorMic Tech Hub is an incredible opportunity to leverage Corvallis and Oregon State University's strengths – our technical expertise, innovation and talent pipeline – to expand and enhance microfluidics applications in semiconductors, biotech and more,” said Scott Ashford, Oregon State’s Kearney Dean of Engineering. “It builds on the already strong partnerships Oregon State has with CorMic’s key contributors.”
The team is led by Tom Weller, the Michael and Judith Gaulke Chair in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Oregon State.
“Microfluidics is an enabling technology for key industry sectors, including semiconductors, biotechnology and chemical manufacturing. For example, microfluidics-based cooling is the way forward for increasing semiconductor performance and massively reducing energy expenditures, which will have a national impact on fossil fuel pollution,” Weller said.
“CorMic brings together our region’s expertise, critical assets and partnerships to enable innovation, accelerate technology development and reduce barriers to market adoption for this technology with critical national security implications, establishing Corvallis as a self-sustaining, globally competitive microfluidics Tech Hub within the next decade.”
HP Inc, a leading microfluidics technology company which has a Corvallis manufacturing facility, is a key partner.
“HP appreciates this recognition of our advanced microfluidics technology platform, and we’re excited to work with our long-time partner, Oregon State University, at our campus in Corvallis to support the local community,” said Paul Benning, HP senior fellow.
The Pacific Northwest Mass Timber Tech Hub aims to be a global leader in mass timber design and manufacturing to lower the construction industry’s carbon footprint and increase housing affordability.
Building off the region’s wood products research and development expertise and its abundance of experienced architectural, engineering and construction firms, this Tech Hub will invest in advanced materials science to mainstream mass timber as a viable and sustainable construction alternative.
“Ten years ago, mass timber construction was essentially just a concept in the U.S., but with its collaborators and partners, the TallWood Design Institute has led the way in turning concept into reality through interdisciplinary research, education and outreach,” said Tom DeLuca, Cheryl Ramberg-Ford and Allyn C. Ford dean of the Oregon State College of Forestry. “The Mass Timber Tech Hub will build on this, advancing the College of Forestry’s goals of equitably promoting sustainability and innovation to drive economic growth and policy change, while also meeting the natural resource demands of a growing population.”
The team is led by Iain Macdonald, director of the TallWood Design Institute, a research collaboration between Oregon State’s College of Forestry and College of Engineering and the University of Oregon School of Design.
“This Tech Hub designation recognizes, validates and builds on the collaborative work that Oregon State University has done over the last three years with University of Oregon and our other Mass Timber Coalition partners,” Macdonald said. “We look forward to working with EDA and the private sector to achieve our joint vision: evolving the Pacific Northwest into a globally competitive industry ecosystem for mass timber design, manufacturing and construction.”
In addition to the Tech Hub designation, the microfluidics group at Oregon State received a $450,000 grant from the Department of Commerce to further develop the project. Business Oregon also provided a $50,000 local match.
The mass timber team at OSU didn’t seek the development grant from the Department of Commerce because it has already completed much of the initial development work through previous grants, including a National Science Foundation grant received by its University of Oregon partners earlier this year.
Tech Hubs was authorized by the CHIPS and Science Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law in August 2022.
About Oregon State University: As one of only three land, sea, space and sun grant universities in the nation, Oregon State serves Oregon and the world by working on today’s most pressing issues. Our more than 35,000 students come from across the globe, and our programs operate in every Oregon county. Oregon State receives more research funding than all of the state’s comprehensive public universities combined. At our campuses in Corvallis and Bend, marine research center in Newport, OSU Portland Center and award-winning Ecampus, we excel at shaping today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.