Tulsa is a “Tech Hub.”
So said the Biden White House this week, a declaration that could lead to $75 million in federal funding.
The city was one of 31 such Tech Hubs selected by the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration. The chosen hubs are part of a $500 million government investment in beefing up the nation’s economic and national security.
Tulsa’s proposal, the Tulsa Hub for Equitable & Trustworthy Autonomy (THETA), will advance the development of autonomous technologies, such as uncrewed aerial systems (UAS), drones, cybersecurity and generative artificial intelligence. THETA was led by Tulsa Innovation Labs (TIL) – an initiative of the George Kaiser Family Foundation – and coalition members Black Tech Street (BTS), Madison Strategies Group (MSG), Oklahoma State University (OSU), PartnerTulsa, The University of Tulsa (TU), Tulsa Community College (TCC) and Tulsa Economic Development Corporation (TEDC).
“The autonomous systems revolution is upon us, and it is evident through this distinction from the EDA that the Greater Tulsa Region is uniquely positioned to lead innovation in these technologies, which are critical to our country,” said Jennifer Hankins, managing director of Tulsa Innovation Labs.
“The Tech Hubs designation is also an important validation of TIL’s tech-led economic development strategy for the region, ‘Tulsa’s Tech Niche.’ This moment affirms Tulsa’s position as a nationwide leader in uncrewed aerial systems, cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing and other complementary industries.”
“As Oklahoma’s land-grant university, we are deeply committed to the aerospace industry and are proud to see our visionary leadership in UAS and advanced air mobility research and technology development acknowledged in such a significant way,” said Dr. Kayse Shrum, president of Oklahoma State University.
“This designation solidifies OSU as the premiere university for the next generation of aerospace technologies, which will continue to have a meaningful impact on Tulsa, our state and Oklahoma State University.”
“The University of Tulsa has long been recognized as a top cybersecurity research university with ongoing applications in critical infrastructure protection, smart environments and robotics,” said Brad Carson, president of The University of Tulsa.
“We are proud to be a part of this coalition of partners dedicated to making Tulsa and the state of Oklahoma a center of gravity for critical cyber, autonomy and human-machine teaming innovations that improve our national security. By partnering together and sharing expertise, Tulsa is poised to become globally competitive in these technologies.”