Arizona leaders from across the semiconductor industry announced a new national partnership on Tuesday aimed at advancing U.S. competitiveness in the chipmaking space.
The new program is called the National Semiconductor Economic Roadmap (NSER) and it is focused on improving American infrastructure and supply chains for this critical industry.
Intel Corp., Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., NXP, Microchip and the Semiconductor Industry Association are leading the partnership, with other industry partners expected to join in the coming weeks.
The Arizona Commerce Authority has helped pull the NSER together and get it off the ground, but other state-level players are also expected to join the group now that its existence is public.
Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University are NSER founding partners as well, since the group has a special focus on developing a high-tech manufacturing workforce both in Arizona and across the country.
The group’s first meeting is set to take place in October.
The formation of NSER comes during a global shortage of computer chips that was spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic. Although semiconductors were invented in the U.S. decades ago, the vast majority of the world’s chips are now produced in Asia, with the states only contributing about 12% of the world’s supply.
Arizona plays a special role in the U.S. push for greater semiconductor competitiveness. Intel’s largest manufacturing site in the country is based in Chandler, and just last week the company broke ground on two new fabs.
“Today more than ever, we see the strategic importance of a robust U.S. semiconductor industry,” Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said in a statement. “Intel has been at the forefront of designing and manufacturing semiconductors in the United States for over 50 years, and many of our leading commercial and technological innovations have grown out of Arizona.”
TSMC, the biggest chipmaker in the world, chose Arizona as the site for its first ever U.S.-built fab. Construction is underway at the TSMC site in North Phoenix, north of the Loop 303 freeway, with towering cranes visible from afar.
“TSMC is building a fab in Arizona using 5nm technology that is set to be the most advanced semiconductor manufacturing facility on U.S. soil when it is completed,” Rick Cassidy, CEO and President of TSMC Arizona, said in a statement. “We look forward to contributing towards a prosperous semiconductor ecosystem in the United States.”
In its public communications TSMC says the factory will cost $12 billion to construct, but the Business Journal has reported that the company may build additional fabs at the site, bumping the project cost up to $35 billion.
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