Vice President for Government and Community Relations Emma Wolfe was at the White House last week as the Biden administration announced its plans to invest in semiconductor-related research, development, and workforce needs as part of the federal CHIPS and Science Act.
That includes at least $5 billion for the National Semiconductor Technology Center, a public-private consortium to spur research and development of the next generation of semiconductor technologies.
Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, and National Science Foundation Director Sethuraman Panchanathan were among the officials on-hand for the announcement on Friday, along with researchers from academia, entrepreneurs in the industry, and venture capitalists.
Raimondo said advances in artificial intelligence are going to lead to “an explosion of demand” for more sophisticated and energy-efficient chips, according to a livestream of the ceremony.
“It’s a public-private partnership that’s going to bring together everyone in this room,” Raimondo said.
Opportunities from the $52.7 billion CHIPs Act are being highlighted by the EDGE Consortium, a coalition of universities and engineering schools with women presidents and deans of engineering that President Sian Leah Beilock has helped organize to bring more women and underrepresented minorities into careers in the semiconductor industry.
“We were pleased to be there at the announcement, because we see tremendous opportunities for the country and for our efforts to lift up women and underrepresented minorities in engineering,” says Wolfe, who was representing EDGE, which stands for Education for Diversification and Growth in Engineering, at the event.
The EDGE Consortium has already launched an “Open Your Doors Day” program, and students from Dartmouth and Brown earlier this month traveled to Essex Junction, Vt., to visit a high-tech chip plant run by Global Foundries. Another similar visit for the Consortium’s Scholars is scheduled for the end of this month at Micron Technology’s new state-of-the-art fabrication facility in Boise, Idaho.