Chip design is a key activity behind the function and value of a semiconductor device. The design process consists of defining the product requirements for the chip’s architecture and system, as well as the physical layout of the chip’s individual circuits, which ultimately enable semiconductors to receive, transmit, process, and store ever-increasing amounts of data for today’s digital world. Chip design is a highly complex, interdisciplinary process that involves years of R&D, hundreds of millions of dollars of investment, and thousands of engineers. SIA works with policymakers to support U.S. chip design leadership.
A Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA)/Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study finds that continued U.S. leadership in semiconductor design—the critical and high-value-add mapping of a chip’s intricate circuitry—is essential to America’s sustained leadership in semiconductors and the many technologies they enable. The report also identifies three key challenges facing the U.S. chip design sector and highlights opportunities to strengthen America’s position as a global semiconductor innovation and workforce leader. The challenges include: 1) Design and R&D investment needs are on the rise, 2) A shortage of domestic design talent, and 3) Open access to global markets is under pressure. To maintain U.S. semiconductor leadership in the coming decade and continue to develop the semiconductors critical for the innovation so many industries rely on, the report finds the U.S. private sector will need to invest $400 billion to $500 billion in design over the next 10 years. This can be incentivized through an increased R&D tax incentive. America’s current incentive is weaker than incentives offered by our global competitors and should be strengthened.