From amounts made available to the Directorate, the Director shall make awards to eligible entities for the planning, establishment, and support of Regional Innovation Engines.
In making awards under this section, the Director shall encourage applicants for a Regional Innovation Engine that include multiple regional partners as described in subsection (e)(2).
In making awards under this section, the Director shall take into consideration the extent to which the proposals expand the geographic distribution of the Regional Innovation Engines, including by giving special consideration to rural-serving institutions of higher education.
Each Regional Innovation Engine established under this section may collaborate and participate in, as appropriate, the activities of any regional technology hub designated under section 3722a of title 15, as added by section 10621.
An established Regional Innovation Engine may apply for, and the Director may award, extended funding for periods of 5 years on a merit-reviewed basis.
In making awards under this section, the Director may collaborate with Federal departments and agencies whose missions contribute to or are affected by the technology focus area of the institute.