A bipartisan group of Senators releases recommendations for AI policy

On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of senators published Driving U.S. Innovation in Artificial Intelligence: A Roadmap for Artificial Intelligence Policy in the United States Senate. The roadmap encourages the executive branch and the Senate Appropriations Committee to reach the $32 billion per year non-defense AI innovation spending level proposed by the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. It also includes a list of recommendations for legislation to regulate artificial intelligence. The recommendations include prioritizing funding for a cross-government AI R&D effort at all relevant government agencies and departments. The recommendation mentions explicitly an all-of-government AI-ready data initiative. It also directs research priorities in “responsible innovation, including but not limited to fundamental and applied sciences, such as biotechnology, advanced computing, robotics, and materials science.”

CHIPS for America announces $285 million funding opportunity for a Manufacturing USA Institute

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) seeking proposals to establish and operate a CHIPS Manufacturing USA institute focused on digital twins for the semiconductor industry. The CHIPS for America Program anticipates up to approximately $285 million in funding will be awarded to the institute. Digital twins, as defined in a press release from the U.S. Department of Commerce, are “virtual models that mimic the structure, context, and behavior of a physical counterpart.”

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.

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.

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

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.

NIST reveals plan for boosting U.S. advanced packaging capabilities for semiconductors

Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Director Laurie E. Locascio recently revealed in public comments that approximately $3 billion in funding for the National Advanced Packaging Manufacturing Program will be used to drive U.S. leadership in advanced packaging. Advanced packaging is a cutting-edge design and manufacturing method that places multiple chips with a variety of functions in a densely interconnected two- or three-dimensional “package.” This design paradigm, according to a press release from NIST,  “can help the sector achieve the ever denser, smaller dimensions that the most advanced semiconductors require.” But NIST also notes that “currently, the United States is limited in both conventional and advanced packaging capacity.” 

NIST issues final rules to prevent improper use of CHIPS Act funding

The CHIPS and Science Act (Act) established guardrails to prevent funding recipients from using the money to support the development of semiconductor manufacturing and technology in foreign countries of concern, including North Korea, China, Russia, and Iran. On September 25, 2023, the CHIPS Program Office CPO published the final rules for preventing improper use of CHIPS Act funding. The guardrails in the legislation include the Expansion Clawback and the Technology Clawback. The Expansion Clawback restricts recipients from using CHIPS funding for material expansion of manufacturing capacity in a foreign country of concern; the Technology Clawback limits recipients from engaging in joint research or technology licensing with a foreign entity of concern.

Selection Committee Announces Leaders to Operate the CHIPS National Semiconductor Technology Center

An independent selection committee recently announced the incoming board of trustees that are expected to oversee a nonprofit entity that will operate the National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC). The NSTC is the core research and development (R&D) component of the Department of Commerce’s CHIPS for America program. The NSTC will be a collaboration hub for members of the entire semiconductor manufacturing and supplier ecosystem. It will accelerate innovation and help lower the cost and time required to bring new technologies to market. 

NSF Regional Innovation Engines program selects 16 teams for the final round of competition

The National Science Foundation announced 16 finalists for the first-ever NSF Regional Innovation Engines (NSF Engines) competition, spanning a range of key technology areas and societal and economic challenges highlighted in the "CHIPS and Science Act." The NSF Engines will link up with local and regional partners to expand innovation nationwide and create collaborative and inclusive technology-driven innovation ecosystems.

New guidance released on CHIPS tax credit for semiconductor manufacturing

The U.S. Department of the Treasury released new proposed regulations this week that, together with draft guidance published in March, define how semiconductor companies can take advantage of the advanced manufacturing investment tax credit created as part of the CHIPS & Science Act. This credit is equal to 25% of the capitalized costs of tangible property used to manufacture semiconductors or semiconductor manufacturing equipment placed in service after 2022, and the credit is refundable, meaning that companies posting a loss can still receive its full value. In evaluating the cost of the legislation, the Congressional Budget Office expected more than $24 billion in claims for the credit. The latest proposed guidance defines elective payment procedures, which are intended to help companies receive the credit’s financial benefits more quickly. Comments on the rule are due by August 14.


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