Rural Universities Experiment with ‘Innovation Hubs’

What if rural communities could create hubs that bring together such ideas, and potentially lead to building new local businesses as well?

Montana’s Headwaters Hub

The Headwaters Hub, led by Accelerate Montana, aims to become a global leader in smart, autonomous, photonic remote sensing technologies. This Tech Hub will leverage regional assets—including a concentration of photonics companies and its diverse geographic landscape—to integrate remote sensing systems with advances in embedded processors with built-in artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities. In doing so, this western Montana consortium seeks to develop and deploy smart photonic sensing systems coupled with autonomous systems to address critical defense, resource management, and disaster prevention needs.

The Headwaters Hub will capitalize on the region’s existing commitment to market-driven innovation—and status as home to dozens of photonics companies—to overcome barriers to the advancement and broad adoption of autonomous technologies in critical use areas that are vital to the United States’ economic and national security.

‘Montana’s Great Wide Open’ markets Eastern Montana to those from out of state

The “Montana’s Great Wide Open” is being promoted through advertising and news releases, out on social media, as well as “email blasts.” With these, Visit Southeast Montana is giving people reasons to come to parts of Montana they might not normally visit, Maas said.


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