The CHIPS for America initiative will invest $50 billion to supercharge the U.S. semiconductor industry and revitalize our innovation ecosystem. This funding includes $11 billion for research and development—the focal point of which will be the National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC), an innovation hub that will advance semiconductor technology and seed new industries built on the capabilities of a wide range of advanced chips.
The NSTC will be a public-private consortium that provides a platform where government, industry, customers, suppliers, educational institutions, entrepreneurs, workforce representatives, and investors converge to address the semiconductor ecosystem’s most pressing challenges and opportunities.
Using a whole-of-government approach, and as specified by statute (15 U.S.C. § 4656(c)), the NSTC will develop a comprehensive semiconductor research and development program that will include research, prototyping capabilities, an investment fund, and workforce development programs.
The National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC) will serve as the focal point for research and engineering throughout the semiconductor ecosystem, advancing and enabling disruptive innovation to provide U.S. leadership in the industries of the future.
The NSTC will have a core of centrally operated, in-house research, engineering, and program capabilities combined with a network of directly funded and affiliated entities that takes advantage of regional expertise and assets throughout the country. The NSTC also will serve as a key convening body for the ecosystem.
The NSTC will work across a range of activities including applied research, start-up company support, prototyping of devices and processes in a real-world environment, challenges related to scaling, or development of advanced manufacturing tools and processes.
The NSTC will work across the semiconductor technical stack and its supply chain, including design, materials, capital equipment, and facilities. The NSTC charter also extends to the broader community that supports and enables the industry, such as workforce and training institutions, capital providers, and semiconductor end users.
The NSTC will engage in and support research through collaboration, technical exchanges, convenings, and grant programs.
The NSTC will focus research and engineering on challenging projects with a time horizon beyond 5 years. The NSTC will focus on delivering broad benefits to the U.S. semiconductor ecosystem, even when working with individual entities.
The NSTC will work with allies to complement and reinforce existing research assets and capabilities, while strengthening and growing U.S. capacity.
The NSTC will welcome the participation of semiconductor users, device makers, designers, application and software product developers, and other market shapers to develop promising use cases to bring to commercialization.
The NSTC will be a public-private consortium, as required by statute. The Department of Commerce (the “Department”) anticipates the creation of an independent entity with NSTC leadership reporting to a governing board informed and advised by industry, academia, government, and key stakeholders. The U.S. government is developing further guidance regarding the governance structure but anticipates a structure that includes public interest directors both to ensure that public objectives are met and to provide accountability for spending taxpayer funds.
To inform the development of the NSTC, the Department has conducted and continues to conduct significant stakeholder engagement. The Department received more than 250 responses to a request for information (RFI) that included questions on the scope of the NSTC. Responses represented input from different sectors of the semiconductor supply chain including design software developers; integrated device manufacturers; materials suppliers and equipment vendors; fabless, automotive, industrial, and consumer companies; and academic institutions and organizations representing labor. In alignment with the RFI, the Department hosted 26 workshops and listening sessions with different parts of the semiconductor value chain. Two workshops specifically focused on the NSTC and the National Advanced Packaging and Manufacturing Program, drawing a combined 350 registrants. The Department also is considering the recommendations from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, public reports like one recently published by the Semiconductor Industry Association, and input from potential partners. The Department will continue to reach out to interested members of the community as plans are developed.
At present, the Department is engaged in four high-priority tasks:
The Department will release a white paper in the first quarter of 2023 that will summarize the results of the landscape analysis, governance structure, and preliminary operating and financial model. At that time, the Department will issue guidance on when to expect requests for proposals.
The Biden-Harris Administration and a bipartisan group in Congress made the bold decision to establish a new and important public-private consortium that will benefit the country for generations to come. The Department will invest taxpayer funds deliberately and effectively to ensure the greatest potential impact for the U.S. economy and national security, and looks forward to working with the broader community to achieve this objective.