SIA Semiconductors

Policy Priorities

Research

Federal research advances semiconductor technology and enables new job creation. Long-term fundamental science research performed at universities and funded by the industry and the federal government is critical to sustaining the pipeline of new discoveries that will fuel the semiconductor industry, our nation’s economy and new job creation in America. Today, with increasingly fierce competition for global technology leadership, it’s critical that research collaborations be maintained and strengthened, not undermined.  


The U.S. semiconductor industry is a strong partner in research investments, devoting $32 billion to R&D in 2012, one of the largest percentages of revenue of any industry. 

The semiconductor industry also has a longstanding tradition of partnering with government and universities to establish effective research programs. In the 1980s, the industry teamed with government to create SEMATECH, which sponsors advanced semiconductor manufacturing research and is now recognized by many as the ideal model of public-private collaboration.

The industry also helps fund cutting edge university research through the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), the world's leading university research consortium for semiconductors and related technologies. SRC has launched hugely successful government-industry-university research partnerships – the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (NRI) and the Semiconductor Technology Advanced Research network (STARnet) – that are unmatched in size and scope by programs in other industries. 

SIA also supports the priorities of the Task Force on American Innovation, an alliance of America's most innovative companies, leading research universities and largest scientific societies that aims to support scientific research in the physical sciences and engineering. 

The Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (NRI), managed through the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), supports university research finding a replacement technology to allow faster, smaller, more energy efficient devices beyond the limits of today’s semiconductor technology.

Industry, Universities, & Government Partnerships

  • Semiconductor industry leaders like GLOBALFOUNDRIES, IBM, Intel, Micron, and Texas Instruments contribute millions of dollars annually to this effort. Government and university support leverages these funds for a combined total of approximately $20 million annually, supporting nearly 40 universities, 75 professors, and 150 students in 20 states.
  • In addition to directly supporting the NRI centers, the National Science Foundation (NSF) accepts NRI funding for projects at the NSF Nanoscience Centers across the U.S., which not only leverages NSF’s large investments to fuel basic science and support students, but also helps promote research in relevant areas for future nanoelectronics innovation.
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which directly supports the four NRI multi-university centers and also lends its metrology expertise. Advancing nanoelectronics requires measuring structures with atomic accuracy, characterizing new materials and molecules, and even measuring the signals from individual electrons – if we can't measure it, we can't make it.
  • State governments in California, Indiana, New York, and Texas and the City of South Bend are investing in the NRI in recognition of the significant employment benefits that will follow commercialization of nanoelectronic technology. 

 

Continuing NRI’s Success

 

Since its inception in 2005, NRI has produced 600 technical publications and 19 patent disclosures.  Still, this basic research is just beginning and the initial efforts are small compared to the government’s efforts in the 1940’s and 1950’s which led to the early semiconductor inventions.  Nanoelectronics research must grow significantly over the next several years.  Congress should continue to fund NSF and NIST budgets that support nanoelectronics research. 

A consortium of U.S. headquartered companies affiliated with the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) is partnering with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to fund STARnet (Semiconductor Technology Advanced Research network), a high-risk, high-impact university research program. 

STARnet supports six multi-university research centers involving more than 160 faculty and 470 graduate students and post-doctoral researchers. Over five years (2013-2017), STARnet will fund nearly $190 million in research: over $75 million from DARPA and over $113 million from the industry consortium.

Continuing STARnet’s Success

STARnet is a public-private partnership that maximizes the effectiveness and value of government and industry investment in university research in semiconductor technology.  Government and academia benefit from better understanding of industry capabilities and needs; industry is able to rapidly transition results into practical application and benefits from access to a larger pool of researchers.  Students’ research experience is enhanced by regular interaction with industry experts and graduates go on to become leaders in the field.

 

Congress should support the Administration’s DARPA budget request to match industry commitment to this program.  



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