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Commerce and NIST seek input to help develop and design semiconductor programs

January 27, 2022

The U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have published a request for information (RFI) to inform the planning and design of potential programs surrounding the semiconductor industry within the United States. Historically, the U.S. accounted for 40 percent of the global semiconductor manufacturing. In recent years, however, the global semiconductor industry has been dominated by Taiwan, South Korea, and China. As of 2019, the U.S. accounts for only 11 percent of semiconductor manufacturing.

The global semiconductor supply chain has been severely disrupted amidst the COVID-19 pandemic – leading to negative spillover effects in other industries that rely on semiconductors for their manufacturing. A high demand domestically for semiconductors tied with a low supply due to disrupted global supply chains has sparked the idea of investing in strong domestic semiconductor supply chains.

Congress is considering legislation that would include at least $50 billion over the next five years to support the U.S. semiconductor industry. The RFI invites input on the potential programs being considered to strengthen the U.S. position in semiconductor R&D manufacturing and specifically, the following topics:

  1. Semiconductor Financial Assistance Program – This program would make competitive investment to private entities, consortia of private entities, and public-private consortia to incentivize the development and refurbishment of semiconductor manufacturing facilities and infrastructure. This program would target the production of leading-edge and mature logic chips, memory chips, and analog chips that are necessary for the needs of national defense and critical industries.
  1. National Semiconductor Technology Center – The NSTC would be established to conduct advanced R&D and prototyping of semiconductors. It would also establish an investment fund to promote new technologies while engaging in workforce development. The NSTC would aim to develop a more concrete route between R&D and commercialization.
  1. Advanced Packaging Manufacturing Program – This program would support the development of advanced packaging for semiconductors to improve energy efficiency while accelerating innovation and manufacturing opportunities for U.S. suppliers.
  1. Workforce Development Needs of the Industry – The goal of this program is to develop a skilled workforce to support a domestic semiconductor industry.

Through this RFI, the Department of Commerce and NIST are seeking responses on listed topics, but  responders are not limited to responding to just the listed topics. Responses to the RFI must be submitted by 5 p.m. EST on March 25, 2022.

More information on the RFI and on submitting responses can be found here.

dept of commerce, nist, rfi, semiconductors