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CHIPS Program Suspends Plans for R&D Facility Funds

APR 01, 2024
In the face of “overwhelming” demand for CHIPS funds, the Commerce Department has put on ice its plans to subsidize semiconductor R&D facilities.
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Science Policy Reporter, FYI American Institute of Physics
800px-Semiconductor_Wafer_of_Microelectronics.jpg

A photograph of a 12-inch wafer of microelectronic testbeds

(Hugh Manning / Wikimedia Commons)

The Commerce Department has suspended plans to issue a funding opportunity for the construction, modernization, or expansion of semiconductor R&D facilities, the CHIPS Program Office announced via newsletter last week.

The decision is a consequence of “overwhelming demand” for funding from the $39 billion facility incentive program created by the CHIPS and Science Act, the office said, as well as due to program changes enacted through the final appropriations legislation for fiscal year 2024.

Though this particular R&D funding opportunity has been put on ice, the office emphasized that it still plans to spend $11 billion on semiconductor R&D through separate programs funded by the CHIPS and Science Act.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo stressed in a recent speech that dispersal of the CHIPS funds is a balancing act. “At the outset, we said that we expected to invest about $28 billion of the program’s $39 billion in incentives for leading-edge chip manufacturing. But leading-edge companies alone have requested more than $70 billion, meaning we’re having many tough conversations,” Raimondo said.

The CHIPS Program Office will discuss its strategy for supporting semiconductor R&D in an April 9 webinar focused on the National Semiconductor Technology Center.

This news brief originally appeared in FYI’s newsletter for the week of April 1.

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