SIA Commends DOE Research Initiative, Calls for Robust Federal Investments to Advance Semiconductor Technology

Monday, Sep 09, 2019, 2:00pm

by Maryam Khan Cope, Director, Government Affairs


In public comments submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) last week, SIA called for a major increase in funding for research to advance semiconductor technology and harness the transformative, semiconductor-enabled technologies of the future, including artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and advanced wireless networks.

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry met with the SIA Board of Directors in April to discuss the importance of federal investments in research. SIA’s comments, sent in response to DOE’s request for information (RFI) on basic research in microelectronics, commended DOE for advancing a basic research initiative and highlighted the tremendous return on investment provided by federal research funding to the broader economy.

U.S. semiconductor companies already invest about one-fifth of revenue in R&D annually, including a total of $39 billion in 2018. This is among the highest rates of investment of any industry, and most of this research is conducted in the United States. Public investments are needed to complement private investments and maximize advances in semiconductor technology. While industry’s R&D investments tend to focus on near-term technological advances, federal investments in research aim to spur long-term, leap-ahead innovations.

Other highlights from SIA’s comments include the following:

  • SIA called for an investment of $1.5 billion over five years for DOE’s Office of Science, emphasizing SIA’s 2017 Vision Report as a blueprint for research topics.
  • SIA called for establishment of new Science Advisory Board at DOE that would oversee the research trajectory of the program.
  • SIA endorsed the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) as a potential partner to DOE Office of Science in administering the program.

Ambitious investment in research is a core recommendation of SIA’s recent 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 in comparison to key global competitors, most notably China. It called for tripling federal investment in semiconductor research to $5 billion annually and doubling funding for semiconductor-related fields such as materials science, engineering, and applied mathematics to $40 billion annually.

We look forward to working with DOE, other agencies, and Congress to promote federal investments in research that will advance semiconductor technology and spur U.S. economic growth and innovation.