KFYR: Tech hubs in Montana, North Dakota receiving federal grant funds

by Michael Anthony

More federal grants have been announced to support regional technology hubs in Montana and North Dakota.

The Headwaters Tech Hub in Montana will focus on photonics — the science of light manipulation and detection and quantum computing.

The Economic Development Administration provided $41 million to support innovation in those fields.

“I know it is going to create good paying jobs in our state and give Montana’s top-notch entrepreneurs the tools they need to solve the world’s most pressing tech and national security challenges,” said Senator Jon Tester, D-MT.

“Montana is leading the country in tech innovation, which will help us win the race against China, create good-paying jobs here at home and further boost our economy. From optics and photonics to quantum computing, I am grateful to help advance Montana’s ability to contribute even further to the important research, development, and jobs that will help strengthen our national security and help the country stay competitive globally,” said Senator Steve Daines, R-MT.

Around $1.5 million of that amount will go towards the Grand Farm in North Dakota, which partners with the Tech Hub.

The autonomous farm is looking at how photonic sensing systems can work with drones and robotics in the agriculture industry.

“It shows how we continue to leverage more resources as we drive forward and lead the nation in precision agriculture,” said Senator John Hoeven, R-ND.

The designation was awarded to Montana in October 2023 as part of the CHIPS and Science Act, which created 31 “Tech Hubs.”

The Headwaters Tech Hub consists of a 27-member consortium which includes Grand Farm, Montana State University, the University of Montana, John Deere and RDO Equipment.