Why you need an Evaluator for EDA Tech Hubs Phase II proposals

  • October 26, 2023

Tech Hub Designation is a strong endorsement of a region’s plan to supercharge a critical technology ecosystem and become a global leader over the next decade. Tech Hubs Designees are eligible to apply for the Tech Hubs Phase 2 Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) (PDF). In Phase 2, EDA will award implementation grants to 5-10 Designated Tech Hubs, with each of those Hubs receiving approximately $40-$70 million across approximately 3-8 projects.

More about Tech Hubs

To read the Phase 2 NOFO, click here (PDF). 

The deadline for Phase 2 applications is 4:59 p.m. Eastern Time on February 29, 2023. Applications received after this deadline will not be reviewed or considered. Only applicants that EDA Designated as Tech Hubs in Phase 1 will be permitted to apply to Phase 2.

Tech Hubs and Evaluation

Here is SOME of what you need to know about Evaluation & Tech Hubs Phase 2.

  1. Evaluation should focus on outcomes that demonstrate the achievement of the EDA’s goals and should further provide indicators that capture the quality, depth, and impact rather than simply raw numbers.

NOFO-Specific requirements

  1. Several sections in the narrative refer to evaluation – specifically – Governance, leadership, and evaluation (page 36 of NOFO). (8 points) Under this criterion, EDA will assess the strength of the consortium’s leadership team and RIO (or its plan to identify and hire one) and the framework and mechanisms the consortium will use to govern its activities, measure progress, build evidence, and continuously improve. In evaluating proposals against this criterion, EDA will consider questions such as 
    • How will the Hub coordinate and govern its consortium?
    • How will the Hub strengthen the culture and concentration of innovation in its chosen geography?
    • How are the Hub’s innovation and other critical assets closely and durably interconnected?
    • Where relevant to the Hub and its vision, to what extent has the consortium secured or is it trying to secure other sources of capital, and how are those funds complementary to and aligned with each other and the proposed funding for EDA?
    • What is the makeup of the Hub’s leadership team, including the Regional Innovation Officer (RIO), and how does the Hub plan to maintain the strength and effectiveness of that team for a decade or more (including as the membership of that team evolves)?
    • To what extent is Hub leadership involved in existing technology- and innovation-centric economic initiatives?
    • How will the consortium, its leadership, and its members measure and evaluate success? 
    • How will the consortium approach challenges as an opportunity to learn and improve? 

Additional requirements

  1. Performance Reporting and Evaluation (see page 41 of NOFO): Tech Hubs are expected to continuously monitor and assess their performance against established goals and associated indicators. Such assessments are expected to involve active participation and input from all stakeholders engaged in or impacted by Tech Hub activities.
  2. Disclosure of Information (Page 44 of NOFO): For the purpose of achieving rigorous program evaluations, all applications (including those not selected for funding) may be shared with EDA staff, outside parties contracted by EDA for the purposes of evaluation, and other federal agencies.

What should your evaluator do?

In general, your evaluator should set up a plan to measure and report on key growth indicators and outcomes of your project. Specifically regarding Tech Hubs Phase 2, your evaluator should assess:

  1. The “added value” of being funded as a Tech Hub (rather than a set of individually-funded projects) – i.e., creating opportunities that take advantage of the scope, scale, synergy, multi-disciplinarity, duration, equipment, and facilities that a Tech Hub award can uniquely provide; (We have experience evaluating projects that involve multi-disciplinary, multi-scope, and multi-partnerships)
  2. Effective partnerships with diverse stakeholders to advance technology and solutions addressing the societal and economic challenge(s), and to facilitate knowledge transfer among the participants; (We have experience evaluating projects that have diverse stakeholders to advance technology and solutions addressing the societal and economic challenge – it is the entire focus of what we do as a company)
  3. Achievement of strategic goals shared by the lead and partnering organizations; (We have experience evaluating strategic goals)
  1. Integration of meaningful diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility practices across all aspects of the Tech Hub, including the leadership team, core functions, ecosystem, and operations; (We have experience evaluating DEIA & DEIB)
  2. Effective implementation of a wide range of educational and workforce training opportunities, including internships, co-ops, vocational training, joint appointments, and other experiential learning opportunities, for technicians, researchers, practitioners, community members, and entrepreneurs at all levels of the workforce needed within the hub; (Fedility to Implementation Strategies is our middle name)
  3. Successfully attracting, leveraging, and effectively utilizing complementary funding from other sources beyond EDA; and (We love measuring outcomes that involve sustainability)
  4. Links and synergistic collaborations with existing innovation ecosystems and other hubs and assets within the region, including federally-funded R&D centers. (We love measuring outcomes that have a collaborative focus)

How to select an evaluator

The evaluator you select should

  • Be an experienced evaluator or evaluation firm (FYI – we are);
  • Be committed to creating regional-scale, technology-driven innovation ecosystems throughout every region of the United States, accelerating emerging technologies, driving economic growth, addressing key societal challenges, and maintaining national competitiveness (FYI – we do) ;
  • Have a working knowledge of all EDA guidelines, protocols, processes, and evaluation requirements (FYI – we totally do).

Need an Evaluator for your EDA Tech Hubs – Phase 2?
Talk with us on or before January 1st 2024 to learn more about our Evaluation Capabilities

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We assist our clients in locating, applying for, and evaluating the outcomes of non-dilutive grant funding. We believe non-dilutive funding is a crucial tool for mitigating investment risks, and we are dedicated to guiding our clients through the entire process—from identifying the most suitable opportunities to submitting and managing grant applications.