Sept 29, 2023 – The Department of Defense (DoD) has made its official announcement of award for the Microelectronics Commons, signifying the first major award under the CHIPS and Science Act.
The awardees are:
- The Northeast Microelectronics Coalition Hub led by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative in Massachusetts
- The Silicon Crossroads Microelectronics Commons Hub led by the Applied Research Institute in Indiana
- The California Defense Ready Electronics and Microdevices Superhub Hub led by the University of Southern California in California
- The Commercial Leap Ahead for Wide Bandgap Semiconductors Hub led by the North Carolina State University in North Carolina
- The Southwest Advanced Prototyping Hub led by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of Arizona State University in Arizona
- The Midwest Microelectronics Consortium Hub in Ohio
- The Northeast Regional Defense Technology Hub led by the Research Foundation for the State University of New York in New York
- The California-Pacific-Northwest AI Hardware Hub led by the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University in California
Funded by the CHIPS and Science Act, the DoD created the Microelectronics Commons to address domestic prototyping challenges and expand global leadership in microelectronics within the United States. The DoD, through the Strategic & Spectrum Missions Advanced Resilient Trusted Systems (S²MARTS) Other Transaction Agreement established by Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Crane Division and managed by National Security Technology Accelerator (NSTXL), is establishing a national network of prototyping innovation Hubs. The Hubs will provide a direct pathway to reduce the country’s reliance on foreign microelectronics and safeguard the nation from supply chain risks by accelerating domestic prototyping and growing a pipeline of U.S.-based semiconductor talent.
“The Microelectronics Commons is focused on bridging and accelerating the ‘lab-to-fab’ transition, that infamous valley of death between research and development and production,” said Kathleen H. Hicks, Deputy Secretary of Defense during a briefing at the Pentagon. “While America is a world leader in the innovative research and design of microelectronics, we’ve lagged in the ability to prototype, manufacture and produce them at scale. That’s what the CHIPS Act is meant to supercharge.”
Comprised of a diverse set of partners in the private sector, the not-for-profit sector, and academia, the Microelectronics Commons has garnered rapid nationwide support and engagement. The inauguration of these Hubs will not only spur economic growth but ensure our nation maintains the necessary talent pool to keep us at the forefront of innovation.
“Microelectronics Commons has proven that collaboration and transparency can absolutely be achieved while moving quickly and efficiently to deliver critical capabilities to the federal government,” stated NSTXL founder and CEO Tim Greeff. “By leveraging Other Transaction Authorities, Microelectronics Commons has created the framework for the U.S. to identify, develop, and deliver the critical microelectronics technology and capabilities needed. NSTXL is honored to support such an important and transformational program that will impact every aspect of our national security.”
With this announcement, the Microelectronics Commons Hubs will be supporting prototyping capabilities for six technical areas (Secure Edge/Internet-of-Things Computing, Quantum Technology, 5G/6G Technology, Electromagnetic Warfare, Artificial Intelligence Hardware, and Commercial Leap-Ahead Technologies), effectively bridging the gap from lab to fabrication.
“The U.S. military has an ever-increasing need for innovation in our weapon systems, while we are also facing uncertainty in our supply chains,” said Dr. David A. Honey, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (DUSD(R&E)). “The Commons model, with spokes reaching out across our nation, enables us to partner with industry and academia so that they can help lead us into the future. By leveraging our partners’ strengths, the Commons is positioned to be a vital driver of the goals set forth in the CHIPS Act.”
While there will be more announcements in the coming months, interested parties can save the date for the upcoming Microelectronics Commons Annual Meeting on October 17-18, 2023, in Washington, D.C. At this event, the annual project solicitation process will be discussed with details on future project funding opportunities for both hub members and nonmembers. After the event, information on these funding opportunities will be available at https://microelectronicscommons.org/.
NSTXL is focused on building a network of innovators and creators across the most sought-after emerging technology fields. As an open-source platform, our approach was designed to encourage network growth and collaboration without stifling change. NSTXL supports their network by providing commercial-term contracting, open-source technology discovery, modern-day marketing outreach, a strongly interconnected network for easy teaming, and cybersecurity compliance support.
S²MARTS , managed by NSTXL, is the premier rapid Other Transaction contracting vehicle for the DoD in trusted microelectronics, strategic & spectrum missions, and other critical mission areas. NSWC Crane created S²MARTS to grow and engage an elite network of innovators, shorten the path to defense prototype development, and advance national security efforts.