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President Biden announces $25 million grant to the Heartland Robotics Cluster

[LINCOLN, NE, SEPT. 2, 2022] President Biden held a White House news conference today where he announced that the Heartland Robotics Cluster, led by Invest Nebraska, was one of 21 finalists awarded a multi-year grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA).

The Heartland Robotics Cluster includes Invest Nebraska, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Engineering, Northeast Community College, Metro Community College, Nebraska Innovation Studio, the Nebraska Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and The Combine.

A competitive pool of 529 applications, from all 50 states, was narrowed down to sixty finalists last December. The 21 awardees announced today represent all regions of the United States. These transformational investments to develop and strengthen regional industry clusters are intended to expand economic growth, create good-paying jobs, and enhance U.S. global competitiveness.

“The Heartland Robotics Cluster and private sector partners have been working on the concept since early 2021,” said Dan Hoffman, CEO of Invest Nebraska. “We are extremely grateful to receive this support and recognition from the EDA.”

The $25 million of grant funding will be utilized to: develop an automation demo space and program for Nebraska manufacturers led by the Nebraska Manufacturing Extension Partnership, grow the robotics engineering curriculum for undergraduate students and build R&D robotic lab space at the UNL College of Engineering, create an automation fabrication lab managed by Northeast Community College, develop urban ag/robotics outreach and training by Metro Community College, expand the robotics makers space at Nebraska Innovation Studio, and increase technical assistance for robotic ag-tech startups managed by The Combine.

“Nebraska’s labor challenges were exacerbated by the pandemic across industries and are not expected to improve in future years,” said Hoffman. “Today, we start the long process of investing in our state’s automation infrastructure and growing the future talent pipeline in automation, robotics, computer vision, and AI.”

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (

The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

About Invest Nebraska

Invest Nebraska is a private, non-profit venture development organization that partners with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development focused on potential high-growth companies in Nebraska and on growing the state’s entrepreneurial economy.


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