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New Microelectronics Program Being Planned

October 24, 1997

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), in cooperation with members of the semiconductor industry and the U.S. Department of Defense, is launching a new initiative to expand certain long range applied microelectronics research at U.S. universities.

This planned new initiative, the Focus Center Research Program, is being structured to utilize long range innovative applied research to meet industry needs. The envisioned Centers will:

Concentrate attention and resources on those areas of microelectronics research that must be addressed to maintain the historic productivity growth curve of the industry;

Strengthen the university research infrastructure and expand its capabilities in silicon related research;

  • Achieve critical mass through relatively large blocks of funding together with the active participation of industrial visiting scientists; and,
  • Provide the optimal balance of creative freedom and targeted objectives.

It is contemplated that individual Focus Centers will be virtual (or distributed), in that they will typically consist of multiple universities. This will allow for harnessing the expertise of a number of institutions in order to build the overall capability in a particular technology area. Each Center will address one of the major technology focus areas of the National Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (NTRS).

Funding for each of the Focus Centers is targeted to be approximately $10 million/year when the Center is fully operational. If the concept proves to be successful, up to six centers will be funded for a total annual funding level of $60 million.

Detailed solicitation procedures are currently being developed. It is anticipated that the selection of universities will be made on an open competitive basis. In addition to technical merit, a key criterion for selection will be the willingness to collaborate with or sub-contract to other universities.

Solicitation documents will be issued by the Microelectronics Advanced Research Corporation (MARCO), a non-profit research management organization that will be responsible for the program. Solicitation schedules will be made available through the MARCO Web site at http://marco.fcrp.org . Interested parties are encouraged to regularly check this site for further announcements.

North Carolina