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NSF launches new round of funding for NSF Regional Innovation Engines, pending appropriations

Pending congressional appropriations, NSF announced a solicitation  for a new set of NSF Regional Innovation Engines (NSF Engines). These NSF Engines would be in addition to the 10 inaugural engines the agency announced in January. In this proposed round of funding, NSF would only accept proposals for full NSF Engines, competing for up to $160 million over 10 years. Proposers would be asked to submit a letter of intent in place of a concept outline and a short preliminary proposal.

160+ organizations sign letter asking Congress to fund Tech Hubs in FY 2025

SSTI and more than 160 state and local governments, institutions of higher education, businesses, trade associations, and nonprofit organizations sent a letter to Congress asking for Tech Hubs appropriations in the FY 2025 budget. As the letter points out, “America’s economic and security needs depend on the country’s ability to remain at the forefront of technological frontiers,” and the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act envisioned a scale for this effort that would see approximately $6 billion in funding through FY 2025—well above the $541 million that Congress has provided to date. Read the full letter, add your organization’s support, and share with your regional stakeholders. 

Dept of Commerce announces CHIPS funds for TSMC and Samsung

The U.S. Department of Commerce has recently signed two non-binding preliminary memorandums of terms (PMTs) with semiconductor companies to provide direct funding under the CHIPS and Science Act. One company, the TSMC Arizona Corporation (TSMC Arizona), a subsidiary of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC), will receive up to $6.6 billion to support the company’s investment of more than $65 billion in three greenfield fabs in Phoenix, Arizona. The second company, Samsung Electronics (Samsung), will receive up to $6.4 billion for two new logic fabs, an R&D fab, and an advanced packaging facility in Taylor, Texas, as well as an expansion to their existing Austin facility.

NIST MEP seeks new director; applications due May 8

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have posted the position for director, Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program after the recent announcement that the previous director had left to become director of the CDFI Fund. The director “directs and controls the activities of the MEP,” according to the posting. Qualifications required include, “A broad knowledge of and demonstrated experience in manufacturing, manufacturing and industrial extension programs, and/or technology-based economic development.” The posting is open to May 8 with applicants encouraged not to wait until the last day to apply. Historically, MEP has partnered closely with the states and most SSTI members.

EPA announces eight selections for $20 billion in grants under the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced its selections for $20 billion in grant awards under two competitions within the $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF). The three selections under the $14 billion National Clean Investment Fund and five selections under the $6 billion Clean Communities Investment Accelerator will, according to an announcement from the EPA, “create a national clean financing network for clean energy and climate solutions across sectors…. By financing tens of thousands of projects, this national clean financing network will mobilize private capital to reduce climate and air pollution….”

Deadline approaching for new federal regulations that a hostile Congress could quickly overturn

Sometime in late May, the U.S. will pass a deadline that could have major repercussions for new administration rules, depending on the outcome of the 2024 federal elections. In effect, rules finalized before late May would be overturned only by going through a new, full rulemaking process, which can be a lengthy process. Rules passed after that date, however, could be overturned relatively quickly by Congress if control of the branches changes.

CHIPS program suspends plans for R&D facilities program; other R&D programs unaffected

The Commerce Department has suspended plans to announce a funding opportunity for the construction, modernization, or expansion of commercial semiconductor R&D facilities, according to an announcement the CHIPS Program Office made in their newsletter last week. The suspension does not impact the $11 billion the CHIPS Program Office still plans to spend on semiconductor R&D through separate R&D programs, nor does it affect the awards for incentive program funding opportunities already announced.