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The White House announces over $5B from CHIPS and Science Act for R&D and workforce programs, other updates on semiconductor programs, including Mfg USA Institute

February 15, 2024
By: Michele Hujber

The White House announced on February 9 that the administration expects to invest over $5 billion in semiconductor-related research, development, and workforce needs. The $5 billion will flow through the National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC), a public-private entity created to handle the funds. Friday’s announcement established the NSTC as a public-private consortium of the Secretaries of Commerce, Defense, and Energy, the Director of the National Science Foundation, and Natcast. Natcast will operate the NSTC consortium.

A White House fact sheet describes NSTC as the “centerpiece” of the CHIPS R&D program. It also stated that the NSTC will support the “design, prototyping, and piloting of the latest semiconductor technologies, leveraging shared facilities and expertise to ensure innovators have access to critical capabilities, and building and sustaining a skilled and diverse semiconductor workforce.” An article in the American Institute of Physics (AIP's) Science Policy News reported that Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said “an early priority for NSTC will be to establish a workforce center of excellence.” Raimondo described the center as “the national hub for all workforce development efforts in the semiconductor industry—everything from high schools to community colleges to the most sophisticated PhDs in America.”

The White House also announced on Friday that it plans to invest “at least hundreds of millions of dollars” in the NSTC’s workforce efforts, including creating a Workforce Center of Excellence. The NSTC’s workforce activities will engage senior leadership from the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Labor, and Department of Education, among other federal agencies, in addition to experts from industry, academia, labor, and workforce training providers.

Investing in other R&D needs

The $5 billion to be handled through NSTC comes from the $11 billion in R&D funds appropriated through the CHIPS and Science Act. The total $11 billion will advance three other programs in addition to NSTC: the National Advanced Packaging Manufacturing Program (NAPMP), the CHIPS Metrology Program, and the CHIPS Manufacturing USA Institute.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a Notice of Intent (NOI) on February 1, 2024, stating that the CHIPS Research and Development Office (CHIPS R&D) will soon announce an open competition for a new Manufacturing USA Institute. The NOI states that the competition will establish an institute focused on developing digital twins for semiconductor manufacturing, packaging, and assembly and the validation of such digital twins in a physical prototyping facility. NIST will invest at least $200 million in the institute over five years, according to the White House fact sheet. CHIPS R&D expects to announce the competition via a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) on Grants.gov in the second quarter of 2024.

NIST also released a Notice of Intent on February 1, 2024, regarding the National Advanced Packaging Manufacturing Program (NAPMP) Materials and Substrates Research and Development. The NOI indicated the department would announce by March 24, via a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), an open competition for new R&D activities. They will post the NOFO on Grants.gov. More information about the expected CHIPS R&D NAPMP Materials and Substrates competition is available at the CHIPS for America website at https://www.nist.gov/​chips/​chips-RD-funding-opportunities.

As previously reported in the SSTI Digest, the NAPMP will invest $3 billion in programs altogether. According to the NAPMP website, some of this money will go toward an advanced packaging piloting facility for validating and transitioning new technologies to U.S. manufacturers, workforce training programs, and project funding.

In addition, NIST has awarded over $100 million in funding across 29 projects in the CHIPS Metrology program. Metrology Gaps in the Semiconductor Ecosystem, published by the CHIPS R&D Office in July 2023, outlines the Metrology Program’s roadmap.

chips, semiconductors, manufacturing