future of protein production with plates with healthy food and protein

iFAB partners commit US$680 million, seek EDA funding for Central Illinois biomanufacturing hub

March 5, 2024

The Illinois Fermentation and Agriculture Biomanufacturing Tech Hub (iFAB) has announced nearly $680 million in commitments from partners – to be catalyzed by potential funding from the US Economic Development Administration (EDA) – at a press conference hosted by Governor J.B. Pritzker and Innovate Illinois in the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory (IBRL) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

iFAB is one of 31 Regional Innovation and Technology Hubs that qualifies for US$45 to US$ 70 million in Phase 2 Implementation grant funding from the EDA, which was made possible by the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 to spur innovation and job creation and ensure national security in the USA.

Last week, the iFAB consortium – led by the IBRL with 31 partners from academia, industry, government, and nonprofits – submitted a proposal to catalyze biomanufacturing and precision fermentation industry growth in Champaign, Piatt, and Macon counties.

“The Tech Hub designation, announced in October 2023, has spurred our iFAB partners to commit US$680 million to realize our vision for Illinois to become the heart of biomanufacturing. With the EDA’s support, we can lock in thousands of jobs and secure billions in market potential,” said iFAB principal investigator Beth Conerty, the Associate Director of Business Development at IBRL, part of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) and The Grainger College of Engineering.

iFAB partner contributions include cash match and strategic investments – including cash matches from a third of consortium members and infrastructure upgrades valued at US$118 million that will benefit biomanufacturing projects in Decatur.

Phase 2 Implementation grant funding would support the growing biomanufacturing entrepreneurial ecosystem, critical infrastructure projects for lab space and multi-use facilities, and much-needed workforce development training programs led by Parkland College and Richland Community College and initiatives led by the Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 149 and the Decatur Building & Construction Trades Council.

The Economic Development Corporations (EDC) in Champaign County and Decatur & Macon Counties, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), and Intersect Illinois are ready to leverage these initiatives to attract more companies to the region.

Precision fermentation is a growing area of biomanufacturing that turns corn and soybeans into textiles, biofuels, food ingredients, polymers, pigments, and more. This sustainable, scalable, and biological manufacturing process relies on microbes to convert sugars into high-value products.

“The precision biomanufacturing industry is bringing revolutionary change to everything from how we feed the world to how we actually manufacture that world – in sustainable and clean ways,” commented University of Illinois Chancellor Robert J. Jones at the press conference. “This is expected to become a 200-billion industry that creates one million new jobs within the next 15 years alone, and as the iFAB proposal has laid out so clearly, there is no place on this planet better positioned to be the heart of that global industry than right here in downstate Illinois.”

Following the press conference, Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski and DCEO Director Kristin Richards hosted an exclusive roundtable event with iFAB consortia members to discuss the future of the project.

Current estimates project that the global precision fermentation capacity must increase by 20x to meet projected demand, specifically in food and materials markets. Illinois's strategic location, wide-ranging expertise, and existing infrastructure make it an ideal location for industry growth.

If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with us, please email info@futureofproteinproduction.com

About the Speaker

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Every week, you’ll receive a compilation of the latest breakthroughs from the global alternative proteins sector, covering plant-based, fermentation-derived and cultivated proteins.
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.