Arch Street is very pleased to announce that we are working with FYI Science Policy News to produce content for their regular bulletins on science and technology policy. FYI is the the editorially independent science policy news service from the American Institute of Physics and is considered the go-to source on science policy information and topical updates. Arch Street’s first bulletin onRegional Innovation Provisions in the CHIPS and Science Act is now live. Special thanks to Mitch Ambrose and Will Thomas of AIP for their encouragement and support.
The CHIPS and Science Act created several new initiatives within the Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships that the National Science Foundation created early this year. This includes establishing priority technology focus areas and authorizing new programs supporting technology commercialization, regional innovation, and workforce development.
The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) announced new guidance on November 16, 2022 regarding the formation of the National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC), authorized under the Chips and Science Act passed in August.
It is expected that guidance on requests for proposals will be issued in the first quarter of 2023 along with a white paper summary of analysis and evaluation of stakeholder recommendations currently underway at DOC.
According to the announcement, Commerce is engaged in four primary tasks:
Evaluating potential gaps in research and engineering that could be filled by the NSTC, ensuring that the new Center will complement the many excellent centers already established by industry, academia, allies, and other governmental agencies. The Department will create a preliminary landscape analysis with the benefit of recommendations developed by the CHIPS Industrial Advisory Committee. Ultimately, the NSTC itself will finalize the focus areas, but this early work will inform further decisions.
Evaluating and defining a structure and governance model that fulfills the CHIPS for America goals of promoting U.S. economic and national security and protecting taxpayer investments while ensuring technical excellence and leadership.
Creating a preliminary operating, business, and financial model that will serve as a road map for near-term investment informed by an understanding of what will be required for long-term sustainability.
Identifying a slate of candidates for the NSTC chief executive.
The U.S. National Science Foundation launched a new $30 million workforce development program, Experiential Learning for Emerging and Novel Technologies, or ExLENT. The program will expand practical learning opportunities for individuals interested in entering or gaining more experience in emerging and novel technology areas such as advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, quantum information science, and semiconductors and microelectronics. With awards of up to $1 million over three years, the program will promote partnerships between organizations in emerging technology fields and those with expertise in workforce development.
Using a cohort model and emphasizing the importance of mentorship, the ExLENT program will connect interested companies, governments and nonprofits with current and potential learners in science, technology, engineering and mathematics who are seeking paid opportunities to explore career paths and develop skills in emerging technology areas.
ExLENT offers experiential learning opportunities for people with varying STEM experience levels to advance in new and emerging technology fields. They include opportunities for current STEM professionals to pivot into new careers in emerging technology fields, opportunities for those with limited STEM training to gain deeper knowledge and experience, and for participants with no prior STEM experience to build interest, motivation, and knowledge in an emerging technology field and inspire them to further explore pathways to potential careers in these areas.
The CHIPS and Science Act is one of the most significant pieces of science legislation in years. With $180 billion for research and development over the next five years, it aims to bolster the semiconductor industry as well as federal science agencies like the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy. But now comes what many observers view as the hardest part: not only must the money be appropriated, but the act must be implemented in a way that meets its many objectives. In the journal Issues in Science and Technology, several experts explore the ways the CHIPS and Science Act can deliver on its promises to spur innovation, strengthen regional economies and workforce, and promote US competitiveness. In addition, there will be a webinar on November 1st at 3 p.m. where these experts discuss how implementation of this important legislation can best meet—and balance—its many goals.
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) CHIPS for America initiative is seeking public input on two programs that aim to restore U.S. global leadership in semiconductor manufacturing. Both were authorized under the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act.
The CHIPS for America initiative includes two main components. First, it provides financial incentives to encourage investment in domestic semiconductor manufacturing. Second, it establishes collaborative networks for research and innovation that will ensure an enduring technological edge. The two Requests for Information (RFIs) cover both aspects of the initiative.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) recently launched the second Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) Prize. The EPIC Prize recognizes the nation’s most innovative incubators in the field of energy. EPIC awards cash prizes to regional incubator teams that submit the most creative and impactful plans, then implement those plans to develop strong clusters, connections, and support for energy startups and entrepreneurs. A total of $4 million is available for multiple awards. For more information about EPIC and how to apply see the program FAQ. Proposals are due by October 25, 2022.
The Department of Commerce appointed 24 members to the Industrial Advisory Committee (IAC), an advisory body providing guidance to the Secretary of Commerce on a range of issues related to domestic semiconductor R&D. The Department emphasized in its release announcing the appointment that the new IAC will not select recipients of federal financial assistance under the CHIPS & Science Act, including semiconductor manufacturing incentives.
The Industrial Advisory Committee was established by Congress in 2021 by the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act of 2021 (FY 2021 NDAA). According to the Department, the IAC “will provide advice on the science and technology needs of the nation’s domestic microelectronics industry, the national strategy on microelectronics research, the research and development programs and other advanced microelectronics activities funded through CHIPS for America, and opportunities for new public-private partnerships.”
The committee comprises leaders from across the microelectronics field, including academia, industry, federal laboratories, and other stakeholders. The committee will be chaired by Mike Splinter, former CEO of Applied Materials, and Susan Feindt, a fellow and executive at Analog Devices, will serve as vice-chair.
The U.S. National Science Foundation announced a new $20 million investment in Entrepreneurial Fellowships through a multi-year cooperative agreement with Activate.org. The Activate Fellows supported by NSF will be scientists and engineers from a variety of backgrounds and regions across the U.S. who will translate research breakthroughs to new products and services with broad societal benefits.
The Entrepreneurial Fellowships will help make entrepreneurship more accessible for people in less-developed innovation ecosystems, expanding geographic diversity and increasing participation of women and others who have been traditionally underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Over two years, Entrepreneurial Fellows will receive training and at least $350,000 in direct support, plus access to specialized research facilities and equipment through Activate. The fellows will advance their prototypes, refine their business models, build their teams, and secure follow-on funding. The initiative will be run by Activate.org, a nonprofit organization that launched the entrepreneurial fellowship model with the Cyclotron Road program at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and has partnered with U.S.-based funders and research institutions to grow the approach.
The initiative includes three possible pathways for scientists and engineers to participate:
Activate Anywhere — A connected, yet not co-located, community of fellows that allows for any qualified scientist anywhere in the country to benefit from Activate fellowship support and leverage the concentrated resources of traditional innovation centers where Activate has in-residence offerings.
A New Activate In-residence Community — A new in-person location that expands physical communities beyond Activate’s existing locations ensuring that a regional hub exists for any fellow across the country who wants to be in-residence, and to strengthen the national base of resources that any fellow across the network can leverage.
Pre-doctoral Translational Research Experience — A new mechanism aimed at expanding opportunities for diverse talent and overcoming racial imbalance in the science innovation ecosystem by supporting pre-doctoral scientists and engineers and exposing them to nascent science-based startups under the mentorship of Activate’s network.