As Congress works toward finalizing funding for fiscal year 2018, the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Semiconductor Caucus – Sens. James Risch (R-Idaho) and Angus King (I-Maine) and Reps. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) – have urged leaders of the congressional Appropriations Committees to prioritize “investments in research and development (R&D) that contribute to advancing the state of the art in semiconductors.”
Federal investments in semiconductor R&D at the Department of Defense (DOD), especially DARPA, the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) support critical pre-competitive research programs – often in partnership with U.S. semiconductor companies – and help train the next generation of the U.S. high-tech workforce. SIA applauds the Semiconductor Caucus for calling attention to these important programs.
As our global competitors have been increasing their commitments to R&D, U.S. federal funding for R&D has fallen to an historic low point as a percent of the size of our economy. U.S. semiconductor companies commit nearly one-fifth of revenues to R&D each year – among the highest percentages of any industry – but need robust partnerships with the federal government to support the pre-competitive basic research that will underpin the next generation of innovations.
Federal funding for research is a long-standing SIA priority and we applaud the Semiconductor Caucus for calling attention to this critical issue. SIA urges all policymakers to follow their lead and support research investments crucial to strengthening U.S. competitiveness and technology leadership.