Hoeven: EDA Awards $1.5 Million for NDSU Innovation Studio to Support Entrepreneurs in Developing New Technologies

Senator Worked to Advance NDSU’s Application, Supports Tech Sector as the Third Wave in ND’s Economic Growth

FARGO, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded a $1.5 million grant to the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Research and Technology Park for its new Innovation Studio. The Innovation Studio will serve as a makerspace for local businesses and entrepreneurs, providing tools and equipment that would be otherwise too expensive to obtain and enabling new innovations to be prototyped at a significantly reduced cost. The facility will be an important support for the region’s technology sector, which serves as the third wave of the state’s economic growth, following expansions in agriculture and energy. Hoeven wrote to the EDA earlier this year to help advance the grant application and ensure its approval.

“This new Innovation Studio is a tremendous investment in the future of tech entrepreneurship, which we’re building into the third wave of North Dakota’s economic growth,” said Senator Hoeven, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “That’s why we worked with NDSU to secure EDA for funding this project. The studio aligns with a broad range of our initiatives to support not only a growing tech sector, but new opportunities for investment and innovation across industries, including in our traditional fields like agriculture and energy.”

“Now more than ever we need to increase the ability to bring fundamental research to actual products. The NDSU Innovation Studio will allow multiple disciplines to work together as they transform an idea to reality,” said Brian Kalk, Executive Director of the NDSU Research and Technology Park.

Today’s announcement comes as the latest in Hoeven’s efforts to further establish North Dakota as a hub of technology entrepreneurship. Hoeven has worked since his time as governor to advance this priority, including through initiatives like the Centers of Excellence program and his annual State of Technology Conference. The senator’s continued efforts include:

  • Bolstering tech entrepreneurship. To this end, Hoeven is advancing:
    • The Support Our Start-Ups Act, bipartisan legislation he introduced to enable entrepreneurs to deduct more of the start-up costs for their business and invest more into their operations sooner.
    • The Portable Benefits for Independent Workers Pilot Program Act, a bipartisan bill he helped introduce to make portable benefits more accessible for entrepreneurs and provide greater certainty for them and their families. 
  • Expanding Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. The senator cosponsored legislation that was signed into law to:
    • Support veterans as they pursue STEM careers by making them eligible for National Science Foundation (NSF) programs and directing the agency to enhance outreach to veterans. 
    • Expand NSF STEM initiatives to young children and increase their interest in these fields at an earlier age.
    • Hoeven also secured strong funding in annual appropriations bills to support student and faculty research at universities like NDSU and UND.
  • Promoting college affordability. Accordingly, Hoeven has cosponsored:
    • The Employer Participation in Repayment Act, which would allow employers to provide tax-free student loan repayment up to $5,250 per year.
    • The Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act, a bill to extend Pell grant eligibility to students pursuing high-quality, shorter-term job training programs that meet regional workforce needs.
  • Supporting broadband infrastructure development, including in rural areas.
    • As chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, Hoeven has secured more than $1.6 billion across fiscal years 2018-2020 for the ReConnect Program, a rural broadband loan and grant pilot program.
    • Hoeven also cosponsored and helped pass the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act, which now awaits the president’s signature, to improve federal broadband mapping.