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DOE Announces $160 Million for New Microelectronics Research Centers

MAY 14, 2024
The centers will aim to improve the durability and energy efficiency of microelectronics.
Jacob Taylor headshot
Senior Editor for Science Policy, FYI American Institute of Physics
Report cover for Basic Research Needs for Microelectronics

The cover image of a DOE report on basic research needs for microelectronics.

(Argonne National Lab)

The Department of Energy opened applications last week for up to $160 million in funding to create Microelectronics Science Research Centers.

DOE plans to issue clusters of awards that will collectively form centers focused on increasing the energy efficiency of microelectronics technologies or their ability to function in extreme environments, such as under high radiation, cold temperatures, or high magnetic fields.

Each proposal is encouraged to relate to at least two of the following topics: “new or improved materials, surface processing and control, chemistry, synthesis, and fabrication; advanced computing paradigms and architectures; integrated sensing, edge computing, and communication; or processing in extreme environments, radiation, radiation transport, and materials interaction.”

The department anticipates that each award will last four years and provide $750,000 to $3 million annually, with the total funding for each overarching center capped at $25 million per year. Awardees are set to be announced in August, with $40 million being delivered by the end of fiscal year 2024.

Congress directed DOE to launch these centers through the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, though the act did not provide any dedicated funds for that purpose, in contrast to the other semiconductor programs it created. Therefore, DOE is funding the centers out of its base budget.

This news brief originally appeared in FYI’s newsletter for the week of May 13.

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