© 4designersart dreamstime.com General | April 05, 2019
New SIA blueprint urges U.S. leadership in semi-chip technology
The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), which represents U.S. leadership in semiconductor manufacturing, design, and research, has released a set of government policy recommendations designed to maintain the United States’ current and future foothold as leaders in the industry.
Specifically, the new recommendations outline the path for sustaining and strengthening America's global leadership in semiconductor technology and ensuring the United States wins the race to harness the transformative, semiconductor-enabled technologies of the future, including artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, and advanced wireless networks, a press release stated. The report, titled Winning the Future: A Blueprint for Sustained U.S. Leadership in Semiconductor Technology, urges U.S. government leaders to significantly increase investments in semiconductor research, help attract and develop the world's most skilled technology workforce, and ensure open markets and strong protection of intellectual property. "Global technology leadership has never been more important, with so much at stake for America's future economic growth and competitiveness," said Sanjay Mehrotra, president and CEO of Micron Technology and 2019 SIA chair. "The country that leads in semiconductor innovation will also lead the next wave of technology advances, influencing every aspect of the economy and life. We call upon our leaders in Washington to enact policies that will keep us at the forefront of the must-win technologies of the future." The Winning the Future blueprint highlights two core challenges to continued semiconductor innovation and U.S. leadership in this sector. First, semiconductor technology advancements are pushing against barriers of physics, and breakthroughs to move beyond these limits and keep America in front require greater investment in research. Second, while the U.S. semiconductor industry leads the world with nearly half of global market share, overseas governments such as China's are seeking to challenge U.S. leadership by making significant investments to achieve breakthroughs in semiconductor technology, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing. As stated in the press release, the report identifies three domestic policy areas – research, workforce, and trade/IP protection – where urgent government action is needed to ensure America rises to these challenges and sustains its global leadership in semiconductor technology and the revolutionary technologies semiconductors enable. In the area of research, the report calls for tripling federal investments in semiconductor-specific research over the next five years from approximately USD 1.5 billion to USD 5 billion annually and doubling federal funding for semiconductor-related research from about USD 20 billion to USD 40 billion annually in fields such as materials science, computer science, engineering, and applied mathematics across federal scientific agencies. Workforce plans included in the report cite “removing caps on green cards for qualified STEM graduates to meet short-term demand for talent.” Additionally, to develop the future American semiconductor workforce, the report urges increasing federal funding for STEM education by 50% over the next five years from more than USD 1 billion to over USD 1.5 billion annually and implementing a national STEM education initiative to double the number of American STEM graduates by 2029. Finally, with regard to trade and IP protection, the blueprint urges approval of free trade agreements, including the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which remove market barriers, protect IP, and enable fair competition. It also calls for increased resources for law enforcement and intelligence agencies to prevent and prosecute semiconductor IP theft.