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CHIPS for America promotes over $50 million funding opportunity


The Biden-Harris Administration has issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to seek applications from eligible small businesses to explore the technical merit or feasibility of an innovative idea or technology for developing a viable product or service for introduction in the commercial microelectronics marketplace.

The Biden-Harris Administration is dedicated to helping small businesses access the resources they need to thrive and promote competition to level the playing field.

The CHIPS for America program anticipates up to approximately $54 million in funding across multiple topics on research projects for critically needed measurement services, tools, and instrumentation; innovative manufacturing metrologies; novel assurance and provenance technologies and advanced metrology research and development (R&D) testbeds to help secure U.S. leadership in the global semiconductor industry.

President Biden signed the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act into law on August 9, 2022. The Department of Commerce is overseeing $50 billion to revitalize the U.S. semiconductor industry and strengthen the country’s economic and national security. CHIPS for America R&D within the U.S. Department of Commerce is responsible for administering $11 billion to advance U.S. leadership in semiconductor R&D. CHIPS R&D is a critical part of President Biden’s agenda to support American innovation for decades to come.

Metrology, the science of measurement and its application plays a key role in semiconductor manufacturing. As devices become more complex, smaller, and multi-layered, the ability to measure, monitor, predict, and ensure quality in manufacturing becomes much more difficult and uncertain.

In September 2022, NIST published a report titled Strategic Opportunities for U.S. Semiconductor Manufacturing, which identifies seven grand challenges that need critical attention from a metrology perspective to achieve U.S. leadership in semiconductor research, development, and manufacturing. This report summarizes input from industry, academia, and government and provides strategies for addressing the grand challenges.

“CHIPS for America is committed to building opportunities for all businesses, including small businesses, to prosper as we grow the U.S. semiconductor industry. Because we recognize the high costs associated with innovation in the semiconductor industry, we’re offering awardees of this funding opportunity up to the maximum amount possible per award by the Small Business Innovation Research Program to ensure opportunity is within reach for all businesses seeking to be part of the U.S. semiconductor ecosystem,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.

“Small businesses have an important role to play in the semiconductor ecosystem,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Director Laurie E. Locascio. “NIST has long supported the SBIR program, and this funding opportunity dedicated to CHIPS Metrology will help give small businesses the opportunity to take innovative ideas, scale them for the commercial marketplace, and boost the U.S. economy.”

Funded activities are expected to include, but not necessarily be limited to compact, fieldable cryogenic technologies, compact extreme ultraviolet (EUV) sources, and the seven grand challenges.

This funding opportunity is provided through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program, the federal government’s largest platform to promote U.S. technology innovation research and private-sector commercialization. NIST is one of eleven federal government agencies that operate an SBIR program.

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