Appropriations Law Highlights Importance of U.S. Leadership in Semiconductors

Tuesday, Jan 21, 2020, 12:30pm

by Semiconductor Industry Association

At the close of 2019, the President signed into law the Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations Act, which allocates funding for a range of federal agencies, including two – the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) – that support critical semiconductor research. SIA applauds enactment of this legislation and urges policymakers to continue working together in support of robust funding for semiconductor research.

The law includes language emphasizing the importance of U.S. leadership in semiconductor technology that is the result of federal research investment: “Preserving American leadership in semiconductor technology is important for American innovation, scientific discovery, and national security, as well as the advancement of critical technologies.”

In addition, Congress directed the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), in coordination with federal research agencies, to “assess the utilization of semiconductor-specific and semiconductor-related fields in both basic and applied research” and brief the Appropriations Committee on these findings within 6 months.

Ambitious investment in research is a core recommendation of SIA’s policy agenda, titled “Winning the Future: A Blueprint for Sustained U.S. Leadership in Semiconductor Technology.” That report showed U.S. government investment in research has been declining compared to key global competitors, most notably China. It called for tripling federal investment in semiconductor research over five years from their current levels to about $5 billion annually and doubling funding for semiconductor-related fields from current levels to nearly $9 billion annually.

Federal agencies such as NSF, NIST, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense support research critical to advancing semiconductor technology and ensuring sustained U.S. leadership in the technologies of the future, including artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and advanced wireless networks such as 5G.

SIA commends the enactment of this legislation and looks forward to working with Congress and the Administration to promote federal investments in research that will strengthen our semiconductor innovation and, by extension, our country’s economy, national security, and global technology leadership.