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CHIPS for America announces $285 million funding opportunity

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The Biden-Harris Administration has issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) seeking proposals from eligible applicants for activities to establish and operate a CHIPS Manufacturing USA institute focused on digital twins for the semiconductor industry.

Digital twins are virtual models that mimic the structure, context, and behavior of a physical counterpart. The CHIPS for America Program anticipates up to approximately $285 million for a first-of-its-kind institute focused on the development, validation, and use of digital twins for semiconductor manufacturing, advanced packaging, assembly, and test processes. The CHIPS Manufacturing USA institute is the first Manufacturing USA institute launched by the Department of Commerce under the Biden Administration.

Unlike traditional, physical research models, digital twins can exist in the cloud, which enables collaborative design and process development by engineers and researchers across the country, creating new opportunities for participation, speeding innovation, and reducing costs of research and development. Digital twin-based research can also leverage emerging technology like artificial intelligence to help accelerate the design of new U.S. chip development and manufacturing concepts and significantly reduce costs by improving capacity planning, production optimization, facility upgrades, and real-time process adjustments.

“Digital twin technology can help to spark innovation in research, development, and manufacturing of semiconductors across the country – but only if we invest in America’s understanding and ability of this new technology,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This new Manufacturing USA institute will not only help to make America a leader in developing this new technology for the semiconductor industry, it will also help train the next generation of American workers and researchers to use digital twins for future advances in R&D and production of chips.”

“Under President Biden’s leadership, we’re writing a new chapter in semiconductor manufacturing in America,” said Arati Prabhakar, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “CHIPS R&D is about making sure American manufacturers can continue to succeed and thrive. Digital twin technology can accelerate the costly and time-consuming work to develop the next generation of robust manufacturing for this extraordinarily complicated product.”

Funded activities are expected to include, but not necessarily be limited to operational activities to run the Institute; basic and applied research related to semiconductor digital twin development; establishing and supporting shared physical and digital facilities; industry-relevant demonstration projects; and digital twin-related workforce training.

“Digital twin technology will help transform the semiconductor industry,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Director Laurie E. Locascio. “This historic investment in the CHIPS Manufacturing USA institute will help unite the semiconductor industry to unlock the enormous potential of digital twin technology for breakthrough discoveries. This is a prime example of how CHIPS for America is bringing research institutions and industry partners together in public private partnership to enable rapid adoption of innovations that will enhance domestic competitiveness for decades to come.”

The CHIPS Manufacturing USA institute is expected to use integrated physical and digital assets to tackle important semiconductor-industry manufacturing challenges. By establishing a regionally diverse network, the institute will foster a collaborative environment to significantly expand innovation, bring tangible benefits to both large and small to mid-sized manufacturers, engage diverse communities, and ensure robust nation-wide workforce training.

The CHIPS Manufacturing USA institute will join an existing network of seventeen Manufacturing USA institutes designed to secure the future of U.S. manufacturing through innovation, education, and collaboration.

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