The U.S. Chip Industry Association urges R&D infrastructure upgrades with Chips Act funds By Stocksak

© Stocksak. FILEPHOTO: Semiconductor chip are seen on a circuit board in this illustration photo taken February 25, 2022. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration/File photo

By Jane Lanhee Lee

OAKLAND, Calif. (Stocksak). – The $52 billion Chips and Science Act, which was recently passed, should be used to upgrade existing U.S. research and develop infrastructures as well as build new facilities, according to a chip industry body.

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) on Thursday called for a careful examination of existing R&D infrastructure, including facilities such as the Albany NanoTech Complex in New York and other government and research spaces.

In addition to tens of billions of dollars for building back U.S. chip manufacturing capacity, the Chips and Science act carved out $2 billion for the Defense Department and $11 billion for the Commerce Department to allocate for chip R&D.

“In the semiconductor industry that much money, especially when it comes to scaling up, will be spent very quickly. It’s crucial that we have a clear understanding of the existing infrastructure so that it can be leveraged,” Eric Breckenfeld, director for technology policy at SIA, said. The report was released in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group and suggested how the funding could be spent.

Breckenfeld said the Defense Department funding would mainly go to existing programs, while the Commerce Department funding will be allocated through two new government entities – the National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC) and the National Advanced Packaging (NYSE:) Manufacturing Program (NAPMP).

The goal of the Chips Act R&D funding would be to fill a gap in the so-called “valley of death” between early stage research and mature commercial technologies, which are both well funded in the U.S., he said.

Breckenfeld stated that there will likely be many technology hubs in different regions that specialize in different areas of semiconductor technology, such as packaging or materials, even though the Commerce Department has not provided a detailed roadmap for how NAPMP and NSTC would be managed.

He said that regional competition was emerging to secure these hubs.

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