NSF announces nearly $50 million partnership with Ericsson, IBM, Intel, and Samsung to support the future of semiconductor design and manufacturing

The U.S. National Science Foundation today announced a cross-sector partnership with Ericsson, IBM, Intel, and Samsung to support the design of the next generation of semiconductors as part of its Future of Semiconductors (FuSe) initiative.

“Future semiconductors and microelectronics will require transdisciplinary research spanning materials, devices, and systems, as well as the engagement of the full spectrum of talent in the academic and industrial sectors,” said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. “Partnerships such as this are essential to inform research needs, spur innovation, accelerate the translation of results to the market, and prepare the future workforce.”

Through this partnership activity, NSF will team with Ericsson, IBM, Intel, and Samsung to invest in projects that cultivate a broad coalition of science and engineering researchers to pursue holistic, “co-design” approaches. By intentionally supporting researchers who are integrating materials, devices, architectures, systems, and applications, new semiconductor technology is designed and developed in an integrated way. Co-design approaches simultaneously consider the device/system performance, manufacturability, recyclability, and impact on the environment.

A nationwide shortage in semiconductors, complicated by the global pandemic, has made it difficult for the chip industry to meet the increasing demand for chip-based products. And while that demand is high in the U.S., only about 10% of the global supply of chips is produced nationally. Investments through this public-private partnership will help address this problem by spurring research and innovation leading to breakthroughs in semiconductor and microelectronics technologies, aiding the myriad applications that rely upon these devices.

This partnership expands upon recent NSF investments to train and build a diverse semiconductor manufacturing workforce in the U.S. In 2022, NSF announced three semiconductor workforce development opportunities – a partnership with Semiconductor Research Corporation, a $10 million funding opportunity with Intel Corporation and a $10 million partnership with Micron Technology, Inc.