The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today launched the first CHIPS for America funding opportunity for manufacturing incentives to restore U.S. leadership in semiconductor manufacturing, support jobs across the semiconductor supply chain, and advance U.S. economic and national security.

As part of the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act, which President Biden signed into law in August 2022, the Department of Commerce is overseeing $50 billion to revitalize the U.S. semiconductor industry, including $39 billion in semiconductor incentives.

“The CHIPS and Science Act presents a historic opportunity to unleash the next generation of American innovation, protect our national security, and preserve our global economic competitiveness,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo, in a statement.

The first funding opportunity seeks applications for projects to construct, expand, or modernize commercial facilities to produce leading-edge, current-generation, and mature-node semiconductors; including both front-end wafer fabrication and back-end packaging.

In addition, the department will also be releasing a funding opportunity for semiconductor materials and equipment facilities in the late spring, and one for research and development facilities in the fall.

“When we have finished implementing CHIPS for America, we will be the premier destination in the world where new leading-edge chip architectures can be invented in our research labs, designed for every end-use application, manufactured at scale, and packaged with the most advanced technologies,” Raimondo said. “Throughout our work, we are committed to protecting taxpayer dollars, strengthening America’s workforce, and giving America’s businesses a platform to do what they do best: innovate, scale, and compete.”

The first funding opportunity application will be evaluated with a primary focus on how projects advance U.S. economic and national security. Applications will also be evaluated for commercial viability, financial strength, technical feasibility and readiness, workforce development, and efforts to spur inclusive economic growth.

CHIPS for America awards will be made as soon as applications can be rigorously evaluated and negotiated.

“Starting today, the department strongly encourages all potential applicants, including those for future funding opportunities, to submit statements of interest so it may gauge interest across the semiconductor ecosystem and begin preparing for application review,” the department stated.

In addition to the first funding opportunity, the NIST CHIPS for America Team also released the ‘Vision for Success’ framework laying out strategic objectives to advance U.S. economic and national security. The department aims to reach the following goals by the end of the decade:

  • Make the U.S. home to at least two, new large-scale clusters of leading-edge logic chip fabs;
  • Make the U.S. home to multiple, high-volume advanced packaging facilities;
  • Produce high-volume leading-edge memory chips; and
  • Increase production capacity for current-generation and mature-node chips, especially for critical domestic industries.
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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.