IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Coalition Pitches Northeastern Microelectronics Hub

A collection of 85 organizations has submitted a proposal to the Department of Defense's Microelectronics Commons program, to create a regional hub bolstering tech development and growing workforce talent.

Female soldering a computer motherboard, microchips, semiconductors
A coalition of organizations from across northeastern states are vying for the Department of Defense (DoD) to select their plan to create a regional microelectronics hub, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, a state entity, announced yesterday. The MassTech Collaborative is the lead applicant on a proposal, submitted to the DoD by yesterday’s deadline.

The federal government has been looking to onshore semiconductor manufacturing and research, and establishing microelectronics hubs is a piece of that effort. The CHIPS and Science Act provides the DoD with funding for its Microelectronics Commons program. This program will disburse roughly $1.6 billion over five years via regional hubs and projects, and the DoD aims to establish nine regional hubs around the U.S., MassTech said in its announcement.

The northeastern group hopes to become one of these hubs.

“The United States is a world leader in microelectronics design, but is responsible for only about 12 percent of microelectronics production globally, with most production now in Asia,” the DoD wrote in a November 2022 press release on the initiative. “American production capacity along with the ability to prototype and test new technology at scale is also lacking … . With the creation of regional technology hubs, each focusing on key technology areas, the Microelectronics Commons will close the gap between research ideas and realization of those ideas.”

The northeastern coalition comprises 85 organizations across public, private and academic centers, including federally funded research and development centers, SMBs, large defense corporations, nonprofits and others, as well as the MassTech Collaborative’s Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CAM). Participating organizations hail from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Massachusetts is also proposing to provide $40 million in matching funds to fuel the project.

The Microelectronics Commons program calls for each regional hub to focus on a priority technology area, per a DoD presentation:

  • Secure Edge/IoT Computing
  • 5G/6G Technology
  • AI Hardware
  • Quantum Technology
  • Electronic Warfare
  • “Commercial Leap-Ahead Technologies”

The northeastern group submitted separate pitches for each of the six technology focuses.

The Commons program aims to build long-lasting partnerships “between emerging technology sources, manufacturing facilities and interagency partners,” and expand the pool of local and U.S.-based semiconductor talent, the DoD said in its release.

The northeastern coalition’s proposal “envisions a streamlined process for the collaborators … to access joint R&D and manufacturing resources that will allow technologies to quickly move from the drawing board to design, fabrication and packaging phases into testing,” with staff available to provide support, the MassTech Collaborative said in its announcement. The submitted proposal also includes plans for workforce development and education and for programs to help “early and mid-stage” startups.

The DoD expects to make its project selections in Q4 2023, per its department presentation.