A look at the CHIPs and Science Act

March 16, 2023
Jennifer O’Bryan discusses the latest with the CHIPs and Science Act while also providing an update on export control.

As one of the few bipartisan bills to make it through the last Congress, the CHIPs and Science Act offers amazing opportunities for companies within the larger photonics community. Whats important is that it represents actual funding dollars with both authorization and appropriation.

The result? “Big numbers that will be going out into our community,” says SPIE’s Jennifer O’Bryan (see video). Big picture, the act represents $50 billion to cover the Chips for America component, including an incentive as well as an R&D program; $2 billion for the Chips for American Defense Fund; $500 million for international cooperation; and $200 million for the workforce of education fund that’s going to the National Science Foundation.

When looking into the incentives program, $39 billion is set aside with allocation over the next 5 years. Some criteria to keep in mind: the program includes upstream suppliers of semiconductor manufacturing materials, which is hugely important to the photonics community. “Entities should have plans in place to mitigate supply chain risks. If you are planning on applying, you should consider having those plans in place,” she says. “This also prohibits recipients of incentive funds from expanding or building new manufacturing capacity for certain advanced semiconductors in specific countries that present a national security threat to the U.S. for 10 years. They are definitely referring to China.”

There is $11 billion set aside for R&D programs. This includes National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC), National Advanced Packaging Manufacturing Program, the Semiconductor Manufacturing USA Institutes, and Microelectronic Research at NIST. “NIST has some flexibility in how it divides the funding,” she says. When looking at the goal of NSTC, the focus is on research and engineering on challenging projects with a time horizon beyond 5 years, making it a forward-looking center.

For anyone wanting to do a deeper dive to learn more about how their company can get involved, O’Bryan recommended visiting www.chips.gov, where you can find all the pertinent resources on the funding.

O’Bryan also briefly touched on a science authorization, which usually is lumped into the sum when discussing the overall value of the comprehensive bill. “Unfortunately, thats not really a fair characterization because this is portion does not have appropriated funding,” she says.

About the Author

Peter Fretty | Market Leader/Group Editorial Director, Laser & Military

Peter Fretty began his role as the Market Leader, Laser & Military in June 2023; the group encompasses the Laser Focus World, Military & Aerospace Electronics, and Vision Systems Design brands. He also serves as Group Editorial Director, Laser & Military (effective spring 2023) and served as Editor in Chief of Laser Focus World since October 2021. Prior to that, he was Technology Editor for IndustryWeek for two years.

As a highly experienced journalist, he has regularly covered advances in manufacturing, information technology, and software. He has written thousands of feature articles, cover stories, and white papers for an assortment of trade journals, business publications, and consumer magazines.

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