DOD Advances Microelectronics Commons to Build Domestic Semiconductor Industry, Workforce

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Jan. 29 – Feb. 2 marked the second week of Microelectronics Commons (Commons) Hubs visits for representatives from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering (OUSD(R&E)), Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC)-Crane Division, and National Security Technology Accelerator (NSTXL). Representatives traveled to Massachusetts and New York where they met with Hub leaders and members, as well as Governor Maura Healey and representatives from Congressional offices.

These visits showed that funding from the bipartisan “Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act” is directly contributing to the Commons becoming a community that empowers Hub members to create public-private partnerships, invest in infrastructure for microchip prototyping, and engage in multilateral co-operation – all in keeping with President Biden’s “Investing in America” agenda. 

CHIPS funding will continue to be allocated during Fiscal Years 2023 through 2027 to accelerate domestic microelectronics hardware prototyping and workforce development. This will grow local economies by upskilling local talent within each Hub region, while complementing programs run by the Department of Commerce and the National Science Foundation. 

The Northeast Microelectronics Coalition Hub (NEMC) site visit on January 30th in Boston included delegates from Analogue Devices, Applied Materials, NextFlex, Raytheon Technologies, Columbia, MITRE, as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and MIT Lincoln Labs. Governor Maura Healey and Ms. Yvonne Hao, Secretary of Economic Development, also attended alongside representatives from the Offices of Senator Ed Markey, and Congressman Seth Moulton. Congresswoman Lori Ann Trahan addressed the gathering virtually. 

NEMC Hub members are leaning heavily into public-private partnerships to accelerate semiconductor industry growth in Massachusetts and the entire Northeast, with support from Governor Healey for whom job training is a policy priority. “The camaraderie and collaboration that exists within this Hub has been forged over three years by our 170 member organizations,” said Ben Linville-Engler, interim director of the NEMC Hub. 

Discussions highlighted the Hub’s connections to both the Department of Defense (DoD) and the defense industrial base, and the site visit showed how public-private investment is adding to advanced nano-fabrication equipment and capabilities within Hub member MIT.nano.

The Northeast Regional Defense Tech Hub (NORDTECH) site visit on February 1st in Albany, New York highlighted principal partners including the State University of New York (SUNY) – Albany, Cornell University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, NY CREATES, and IBM – all which participated in the event. Representatives from the Offices of Senator Chuck Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand also attended.

New York state has spent two decades investing in its manufacturing industry, especially microelectronics. This in turn has incentivized SUNY Albany to invest in cutting edge facilities, IBM to remain a stalwart regional partner, Micron Technology to invest $100 billion in a 20 year commitment to the state, and nonprofits to facilitate resource sharing, standards, and workforce development.

NORDTECH magnifies the impact of this pre-existing network by bringing in organizations as Hub members (one-third of which are small businesses), then catalyzing multilateral cooperation over bilateral relationships. “What NORDTECH offers is the ability to really expand our network,” said Nate Cady, Associate Dean for Research, College of Nanotechnology, Science & Engineering – University at Albany.

Mr. Maynard Holliday, PTDO Assistant Secretary of Defense for Critical Technologies, and Dr. Devanand Shenoy, Principal Director for Microelectronics, OUSD(R&E) and Executive Director of the Commons, both applauded NORDTECH’s approach to workforce development as extremely well thought out, possessing both significant breadth and depth. 

Given the capabilities of this community, the Hub is well prepared to work with the DoD to achieve the Common’s defense mission.

Both NEMC and NORDTECH have impressive infrastructure in place to prototype semiconductors and speed their lab-to-fab transition in pursuit of a sustainable pipeline of domestically produced, state-of-the-art microelectronics to meet U.S. needs. They also have significant state and federal government support, and the capabilities to increasingly address defense requirements for advanced microchips.

Readouts of the following Commons site visits are forthcoming:

5 February: North Carolina, where North Carolina State leads the Commercial Leap Ahead for Wide-bandgap Semiconductors Hub (CLAWS)
7 February: Ohio, where the Midwest Microelectronics Consortium leads the Midwest Microelectronics Consortium Hub (MMEC)
9 February: Indiana, where the Applied Research Institute leads the Silicon Crossroads Microelectronics Commons Hub (SCMC)

For more information, please visit the Commons website: MicroelectronicsCommons.org

MEDIA CONTACTS
Office of the Secretary of Defense
CDR Timothy Gorman
Spokesperson
Timothy.P.Gorman6.mil@mail.mil 

Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering
Mr. Jared Adams
Director of Strategic Communications
jared.b.adams2.civ@mail.mil

The original post of this article was published on this site - RLTW

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