UAF Named in Build Back Better Finalist Award

UAF Named in Build Back Better Finalist Award

A partnership led by ACEP research partner Southeast Conference is a finalist in the Build Back Better Regional Challenge funded through the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

The partnership proposes to support eight projects to develop a viable and sustainable mariculture industry producing shellfish and aquatic plants for the long-term benefit of Alaska’s economy, environment and communities. The proposed projects include an integrated hatching network, incentivizing private investment in developing business, and expanding workforce development programs.

The SEC partnership was one of 60 finalists awarded an initial $500,000 and entry into phase 2 of the challenge. The two-phase competition will ultimately award 20-30 regional coalitions between $25 and $100 million to implement three to eight projects that support an industry sector.

The SEC coalition includes the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation, Alaska Mariculture Alliance, Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District, Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference, Prince William Sound Economic Development District, Alaska Longline Fisherman’s Association and State of Alaska, as well as Alaska Sea Grant, UAF’s Alaska BlueEconomy Center and numerous other stakeholders. 

The BBB Phase 1 finalists proposed projects that will develop or scale regional industry sectors, develop and train the workforce, and build resilient economies. 

The BBB website states, “Each finalist was awarded approximately $500,000 to further develop their proposed projects and strengthen their regional growth clusters in advance of submitting a Phase 2 application. These grants will help the finalists take their projects to the next level in preparation for the Phase 2 deadline and also serve as critical long-term coordination and planning resources to diversify and strengthen America’s regional economies.”

An SEC announcement said, “We are thrilled to be a finalist in the $1 billion #BuildBackBetter Regional Challenge from the @eda.commerce. Our coalition is working together to supercharge a sustainable and viable mariculture industry for the long-term benefit of Alaska’s economy, environment and communities.”

For more information on the award, please contact Juliana Melin at For information on the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ involvement, please contact Justin Sternberg at