SIA Outlines Industry Recommendations for the National Semiconductor Technology Center

Thursday, May 23, 2024, 3:40pm

by Erik Hadland, Director of Technology Policy

SIA today released a set of recommendations to promote the success of the National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC), a critical public-private research consortium established by the CHIPS and Science Act. SIA’s recommendations synthesize the most up-to-date industry consensus and priorities.

The CHIPS & Science Act included the most significant federal investment ever made in chip research and development (R&D), committing a substantial $13 billion across the Departments of Commerce and Defense. The cornerstone of the CHIPS R&D program is the NSTC, a more than $5 billion initiative tasked to “conduct research and prototyping of advanced semiconductor technology and grow the domestic semiconductor workforce to strengthen the economic competitiveness and security of the domestic supply chain” (15 U.S.C. § 4656(c)(1).

Since passage of the CHIPS Act, leading stakeholders have issued several valuable reports detailing recommendations and priorities for the initiation and operation of the NSTC. This body of work represents an emerging industry consensus that should form the guiding basis for the CHIPS R&D Office (CRDO) and Natcast—the new, purpose-built, non-profit entity created to operate the NSTC Consortium—in the establishment and operation of the NSTC.

SIA’s key recommendations include:

  1. Industry-Driven Public-Private Partnership: The NSTC should reflect industry technology priorities and ensure alignment with the technology agenda and roadmaps of the U.S. semiconductor industry.
  2. Objectives and Focus: The NSTC research agenda should pursue full-stack innovation, and associated infrastructure should aim to meet piloting, prototyping, and commercial scaling needs.
  3. Operating Structure: The NSTC should be comprised of technology centers focused on industry subsectors (e.g., advanced logic, advanced memory, analog and mixed signal, etc.), cross-cutting R&D priorities (e.g., energy efficiency, security, etc.), and end-market working groups (e.g., auto, edge, emerging tech, etc.). The NSTC should maximize the use of existing facilities to the extent feasible and only construct new facilities where needed to achieve programmatic goals.
  4. Participation Structure: The NSTC should primarily operate on a membership model for participation in R&D projects and facilities access, and a variety of funding mechanisms should be used to provide adequate and sustained support for a diverse set of stakeholders.
  5. Policy Considerations: Where possible, the NSTC should leverage existing, industry-accepted protocols, and when new policies or guidance are needed (e.g., domestic production requirements, research security, and intellectual property rights), it is critical that the NSTC and all CRDO programs provide clear guidance that has been informed from industry engagement.

For an organizational structure, SIA recommends a collection of technology-specific centers as well as a series of cross-cutting priorities and end-market working groups to drive research and technology development.

To achieve the important goals of the CHIPS Act—to promote U.S. global leadership and ensure the next generations of transformative technologies are developed domestically—SIA’s recommendations underscore the importance that the CHIPS R&D program be driven by the priorities of the U.S. semiconductor industry and foster effective collaboration across companies, government agencies, institutions of higher education, and other key stakeholders.

SIA looks forward to working with NSTC leaders to ensure this historic initiative successfully advances American semiconductor innovation for years to come.