The Department of Energy aims to strengthen place-based innovation activities by leveraging DOE national laboratories, plants, and sites for the benefit of the American people.
Consistent with provisions of last year’s CHIPS and Science Act, DOE is gathering input on how initiatives that promote and strengthen regional ecosystems can power the next wave of American innovation and economic prosperity by leveraging its national laboratory system.
Led by the DOE Office of Technology Transitions and the Office of Science, the Department has released a formal Request for Information (RFI) soliciting ideas on:
Accelerating commercialization of breakthrough technologies
Driving development in the industrial and technology sectors of the future, such as innovations in advanced manufacturing, and supply chains, among others
Fostering sustainable and equitable economic growth in underinvested regions of the United States
Creating long-term high paying jobs in existing and new industries
Facilitating engagement and partnership with local and regional communities
Training and educating both the current and future diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce.
According to DOE, innovation ecosystems anchored around DOE national laboratories, plants, and sites can directly support DOE’s missions, including advancing new and emerging clean energy technologies, combatting the effects of climate change, developing technologies to support our nation’s security, the cleaning up of legacy nuclear waste, and building a technically skilled workforce.
The National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource (NAIRR) Task Force released its final report [pdf], a roadmap for standing up a national research infrastructure that would broaden access to the resources essential to artificial intelligence (AI) research and development.
While AI research and development (R&D) in the United States is advancing rapidly, opportunities to pursue cutting-edge AI research and new AI applications are often inaccessible to researchers beyond those at well-resourced companies, organizations, and academic institutions. A NAIRR would change that by providing AI researchers and students with significantly expanded access to computational resources, high-quality data, educational tools, and user support—fueling greater innovation and advancing AI that serves the public good.
Established by the National AI Initiative Act of 2020, the NAIRR Task Force is a federal advisory committee. Co-chaired by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Task Force has equal representation from government, academia, and private organizations. Following its launch in June 2021, the Task Force embarked on a rigorous, open process that culminated in this final report. This process included 11 public meetings and two formal requests for information to gather public input.
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.
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 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.