Sinema, Colleagues Announce Selection of Arizona State University-Led Southwest Microchip Research and Development Program for $39.8 Million Grant

Sep 20, 2023

The partnership funded by U.S. Department of Defense grant through CHIPS and Science law will consist of universities, national laboratories, community colleges, and private sector partners from across Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema – a key dealmaker of the bipartisan CHIPS and Science law – along with Senators Mark Kelly (Ariz.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), and Ben Ray Luján (N.M.) announced that the Microelectronics Commons Southwest Regional Hub has been selected as the first program to be funded through the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Microelectronics Commons program. The announcement marks the first official allocation of funding through the CHIPS and Science Act.

The DOD Microelectronics Commons program was created to address a critical gap in U.S. semiconductor manufacturing and innovation by creating direct pathways for U.S.-based microelectronics researchers and designers to get their innovations to market, or from “lab to fab.” The Southwest Hub, led by Arizona State University, will provide a collaborative forum for regional technology leaders, including Sandia National Laboratory, University of Colorado Boulder, University of New Mexico, and private sector firms of all sizes to accelerate and enhance research efforts in this critical sector.  

“After years advocating for ASU’s Southwest Advanced Prototyping Hub, we’re thrilled to see the Department of Defense recognize ASU’s leadership and ability to transform our national defense. Through collaboration and innovation, ASU is bringing together partners across the Southwest to deliver state-of-the-art tools and technologies our military needs to continue ensuring our global leadership and our national security – and we’re honored to have helped make this a reality,” said Sinema. 

“Today’s historic investment will enable researchers to discover, test, and commercialize breakthrough technologies in the United States. That’s why I created the Microelectronics Commons, so that America, not China, builds the next generation of microchips. This will put our growing microchip industry and ASU’s research and innovation in the driver’s seat to power our economy and strengthen our national security,” said Kelly. 

“This is about the power of collaboration within a highly competitive industry and economic system,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “There is important work ahead, and this opportunity would not exist without the leadership of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and Sen. Mark Kelly. They were critically important to the passage of the CHIPS and Science Act and have been tremendous supporters of industry investment and expansion in Arizona. ASU has been deeply invested in this work, but without the senators and the 70 partners who are a part of this effort with us, we wouldn’t be here.” 

“We cannot afford to lose our competitive edge in strategic technologies like semiconductors to competitors like China. I’m glad to see the University of Colorado Boulder selected alongside public and private institutions across the Southwest to help advance U.S. economic competitiveness and strengthen our national security,” said Bennet.

“New Mexico’s Sandia National Labs and the University of New Mexico will be exceptional hubs for the Microelectronics Commons, ensuring our state furthers its leadership in science and technology,” said Luján.“Thanks to the Chips and Science Act, the Microelectronics Commons will develop a critical talent pipeline that supports our local semiconductor economies while forming partnerships between emerging technology sources and interagency partners. As New Mexico continues to lead in science and technology, I’m proud this investment will only further our capabilities.”