US to launch $5 billion research hub in China chips race

(Bloomberg) — President Joe Biden’s administration plans to launch a $5 billion semiconductor research consortium to boost chip design and hardware innovation in the U.S. and counter China’s efforts to seize the industry’s leading position. .

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Officials are set to formally establish the National Semiconductor Technology Center, or NSTC, on Friday, marking the second major research and development investment from the 2022 CHIPS Act, following the $3 billion Advanced Packaging Initiative.

The consortium plans to invest millions of dollars in workforce development and will offer grants for semiconductor research, Dr. Laurie E. LoCascio, the undersecretary of commerce for standards and technology, said in an interview. A Commerce spokesperson said officials also aim to open funding applications for packaging research projects in early March.

Officials are working to fill gaps in the U.S. research ecosystem for key sectors such as packaging and hardware, he said, as well as to prevent China from benefiting from NSTC-funded research, since electronic components are a key U.S.-based industry. China has become a battlefield.

Read more: A new front is opening in the US-China conflict over chips

“They are investing a lot of dollars in chip design and chip manufacturing in China right now as our main competitor,” Locascio said. “We’re obviously thinking very, very seriously about how do we put the right guardrails within our funding opportunities – how do we protect IP, how do we develop research protection programs.”

Locascio said it was too early to say whether those funding rules might include restrictions on any collaboration with Chinese researchers or universities, but he said U.S. officials are “laser focused” on research safety.

The CHIPS Act set aside $39…

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