Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks announced the award today of $238 million in “Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act” funding for the establishment of eight Microelectronics Commons (Commons) regional innovation hubs.
This is the largest award to date under President Biden’s CHIPS and Science Act.
“The Microelectronics Commons is focused on bridging and accelerating the lab-to-fab transition, that infamous valley of death between R&D and production,” said Deputy Secretary Hicks. “President Biden’s CHIPS Act will supercharge America’s ability to prototype, manufacture, and produce microelectronics scale. CHIPS and Science made clear to America — and the world — that the U.S. government is committed to ensuring that our industrial and scientific powerhouses can deliver what we need to secure our future in this era of strategic competition.”
The eight awardees are:
1. Northeast Microelectronics Coalition (NEMC) Hub
Awardee (Hub Lead): The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MassTech)
Hub Lead State: Massachusetts
FY23 Award: $19.7 M
90 Hub Members
2. Silicon Crossroads Microelectronics Commons (SCMC) Hub
Awardee: The Applied Research Institute (ARI)
Hub Lead State: Indiana
FY23 Award: $32.9 M
130 Hub Members
3. California Defense Ready Electronics and Microdevices Superhub (California DREAMS) Hub
Awardee: The University of Southern California (USC)
Hub Lead State: California
FY23 Award: $26.9 M
16 Hub members
4. Commercial Leap Ahead for Wide Bandgap Semiconductors (CLAWS) Hub
Awardee: North Carolina State University (NCSU)
Hub Lead State: North Carolina
FY23 Award: $39.4 M
7 Hub members
5. Southwest Advanced Prototyping (SWAP) Hub
Awardee: Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of Arizona State University
Hub Lead State: Arizona
FY23 Award: $39.8 M
27 Hub members
6. Midwest Microelectronics Consortium (MMEC) Hub
Hub Lead State: Ohio
FY23 Award: $24.3 M
65 Hub members
7. Northeast Regional Defense Technology Hub (NORDTECH)
Awardee : The Research Foundation for the State University of New York (SUNY)
Hub Lead State: New York
FY23 Award: $40.0 M
51 Hub members
8. California-Pacific-Northwest AI Hardware Hub (Northwest-AI Hub)
Awardee: The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University
Hub Lead State: California
FY23 Award: $15.3 M
44 Hub members
In all, over 360 organizations from over 30 states will be participating in the Commons.
With $2 billion in funding for Fiscal Years 2023 through 2027, the Microelectronics Commons program aims to leverage these Hubs to accelerate domestic hardware prototyping and “lab-to-fab” transition of semiconductor technologies. This will help mitigate supply chain risks and ultimately expedite access to the most cutting-edge microchips for our troops.
Six technology areas critical to the DoD mission were selected as focus areas for the Commons. Each Hub will be advancing U.S. technology leadership in one or more of these areas:
- Secure Edge/Internet of Things (IoT) Computing
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) Hardware
- Quantum Technology
- Electromagnetic Warfare
- Commercial Leap Ahead Technologies
Hubs are expected to spur economic growth across their respective regions and the economy at large. Hubs are charged with developing the physical, digital, and human infrastructure needed to support future success in microelectronics research and development. This includes building education pipelines and retraining initiatives to ensure the United States has the talent pool needed to sustain these investments. Hubs are expected to become self-sufficient by the end of their initial five-year awards.
“Consistent with our warfighter-centric approach to innovation,” said Deputy Secretary Hicks, “these hubs will tackle many technical challenges relevant to DoD’s missions, to get the most cutting-edge microchips into systems our troops use every day: ships, planes, tanks, long-range munitions, communications gear, sensors, and much more… including the kinds of all-domain, attritable autonomous systems that we’ll be fielding through the Department’s recently-announced Replicator initiative.”
The Microelectronics Commons program has been spearheaded by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, in conjunction with the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division and the National Security Technology Accelerator. On 30 November 2022, the Request for Solutions was released, with a deadline of 28 February 2023. The DoD received over 80 submissions, with over 600 unique organizations included as prospective team members. The DoD pulled together an interagency team of technical experts, including representatives from the Commerce Department, to make selections.
The Microelectronics Commons program will soon move into the project stage, at which point organizations can work with the Hubs to tackle key challenges. This includes organizations which were not selected for Hubs today. More information on the program will be shared at the Microelectronics Commons Annual Meeting on 17-18 October 2023 in Washington DC. Learn more at https://microelectronicscommons.org/.