• October 13, 2023
  • BY Radius Indiana
  • Blog

DoD award launches microelectronics hub, builds on southern Indiana semiconductor momentum

By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support for Radius Indiana

The Department of Defense (DoD), through the WestGate Technology Park based National Security Technology Accelerator Other Transaction Agreement managed by Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Crane Division, has established a national network of microelectronic prototyping innovation Hubs. These newly created eight Hubs led by seven different states 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.

Last month, the DoD announced its first award of nearly $240 million under the CHIPS and Science Act to support this network of eight regional Microelectronics Commons innovation Hubs across the United States.

Governor Eric Holcomb commented on the announcement, sharing “(NSWC) plays a significant role in the DoD’s microelectronics strategy to build American dominance in microelectronics production and development.” He also added that it “builds on the Midwest’s strengths in research and development as well as workforce training at all levels, to build a domestic
semiconductor industry, a national security imperative to keep our nation ahead of our adversaries.”

The Silicon Crossroads Hub, led by Bloomington-based Applied Research Institute (ARI), is the largest consortium with 130 members and was initially awarded $32.9 million to help spur development of domestic production of microelectronics, semiconductor manufacturing and other advanced technologies.

ARI expressed in a written statement, “It is an honor for ARI to be designated as the largest member consortium in the official Microelectronics Commons Hub announcement this morning. The Silicon Crossroads Hub will continue to build upon the collaboration between our members across Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan within all six focused technology areas.”

With this announcement, the 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.

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 region and nation maintains the necessary talent pool to keep us at the forefront of innovation. This major announcement and initiative partnered with the additional microelectronics campus news earlier this year highlights our southern Indiana region’s growth, momentum and overall impact to national defense.