U.S. unveils $11 billion programme to boost chip research

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The United States has unveiled a $11 billion programme aimed at propelling domestic research and development (R&D) efforts in chip technology in its bid to strengthen its position in the global semiconductor industry.

This initiative, dubbed the “CHIPS R&D Program,” marks a significant investment in addressing the ongoing chip shortage crisis and fostering long-term American competitiveness in this critical sector.

“This historic investment will ensure that the United States remains the global leader in innovation and manufacturing,” declared President Biden in a statement. “By investing in cutting-edge research and development, we can create good-paying jobs, strengthen our national security, and ensure that American technology continues to drive the future.”

The $11 billion program will be distributed across four key areas:

The National Semiconductor Technology Centre (NSTC): This initiative will serve as the program’s focal point, fostering collaboration between government, industry, academia, and other stakeholders to accelerate chip innovation.

The National Advanced Packaging Manufacturing Program (NAPMP): This program will focus on developing advanced packaging technologies, a crucial aspect of modern chip design.

The CHIPS Metrology Program: This initiative aims to ensure access to cutting-edge measurement and testing tools vital for advanced chip production.

The CHIPS Manufacturing USA Institute: This existing institute will receive additional funding to further support domestic chip manufacturing efforts.

The CHIPS R&D Program is part of the larger CHIPS and Science Act, a bipartisan legislation passed in August 2022 that allocates a total of $52.7 billion to bolster American semiconductor research, development, and manufacturing.

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This includes $39 billion in subsidies for semiconductor production and $11 billion in research and development. It also creates a 25% investment tax credit for building chip plants, estimated to be worth $24 billion.

The centrepiece of the R&D program is the NSTC, which will conduct research and prototyping of advanced semiconductor technology.

At a White House event, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo described the center as a “public-private partnership where government, industry, customers, suppliers, academics, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists collaborate to innovate, connect, network, solve problems, and empower Americans to compete and excel globally.”

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm highlighted that the initiative forms part of an “industrial strategy focused on chips” aimed at retaining jobs domestically and creating new American employment opportunities.

She emphasized the importance of research and development, stating, “A nation that neglects R&D is a nation at a disadvantage. We are committed to strengthening our position.”

NSTC will establish an investment fund to help emerging semiconductor companies advance technologies toward commercialization.

The 2022 law also creates the National Advanced Packaging Manufacturing Program and new Manufacturing USA institutes focused on semiconductors. The semiconductor manufacturing program is intended to subsidize chip production and related supply chain investments.

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