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CHIPS and Science Law Boost US Tech Investment

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The federal government will pour billions of dollars into science and technology research and development through CHIPS and the Science Act of 2022. Organizations distributing funds are considering partnering with the private sector.

One of the most important pieces of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 is the $52 billion allocated to boost U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, but the rest of the funding for the entire $280 billion competitive package will come from the National Science Distributed to institutions such as foundations. (NSF), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Department of Commerce, Department of Energy.

Throughout the competition package, these institutions are responsible for working with academia as well as the private sector to raise funds and research and develop new and existing technologies. President Joe Biden is set to sign the law into law this week.

“The truth is, academia alone cannot do this, government alone cannot do this, and the private sector alone cannot do this,” said Forrester Research analyst Glenn O’Donnell. “That tripartite partnership needs to be at the heart of everything that is to come, and yes, private sector technology companies will be a part of it.”

Distribution of CHIPS and Science Law Funds

If Biden signs the bill as expected, the NSF will receive a whopping $81 billion in funding over the next five years.

We will use $20 billion of these funds to establish the Directorate General of Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP) to rapidly develop technologies such as artificial intelligence, 6G communications and quantum computing.

The new directorate will span all topic areas and will help entrepreneurs bring more ideas to life, leading to what entrepreneurs have dubbed the “Valley of Death,” said NSF’s Assistant to the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate. Director Margaret Martonossi said. “Death Valley” refers to the time between a startup launching a product and making a profit.

With additional funding the NSF receives from the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, Multnosi said there could be a “richer set of entities” funded by the NSF. NSF currently funds 2,000 organizations each year. Mostly universities, but there are programs that fund startups as well. NSF annually receives proposals that go through a merit review process before being selected for funding.

The new Directorate General for Technology will administer NSF programs related to funding small businesses and a “transition to scale” award to help commercialize technology, she said. The aim of TIP is to “create a framework for doing it more often, more easily and in more topic areas,” she said Martonosi.

“Each year, we make billions of dollars of highly valued value propositions, but we have the resources to only a fraction of them, so we can’t fund them,” she said. Said. “The idea of ​​something like a piece of science [the CHIPS and Science Act] It’s about connecting those ideas to the resources needed to actually benefit the country. ”

Meanwhile, the Department of Commerce will receive $11 billion over five years to establish regional technology hubs focused on developing technology and expanding America’s innovation capacity.

NIST will get $9 billion and “more flexibility” to partner with the private sector on critical technology research and standards development for emerging technology industries, including quantum science information, semiconductors and advanced communications technologies.

The measure also authorizes $40.5 million through 2027 to establish an Energy Security and Innovation Foundation affiliated with the Department of Energy. According to the legislative outline, the foundation is tasked with working with the private sector to raise funds to support the “creation, development and commercialization of innovative technologies that address tomorrow’s energy challenges.”

Oversight of federal funds

The bill implements various oversight measures regarding the distribution of funds.

For example, the bill would require NSF to provide an annual report on the activities of the Department of Technology and an overview explaining how NSF will make future investment decisions.

At some point, if this smells like handouts to any of these tech companies, it’s going to be a political uproar.

Glenn O’donnellAnalyst, Forrester Research

It also requires the establishment of an interagency working group led by the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to coordinate spending.

Congress has not approved a new OSTP director since former director Eric Lander resigned earlier this year. Biden named Alathi Prabhakar for the post. Prabhakar previously served as director of NIST, as well as Silicon Valley company where he was an executive and venture capitalist where he led research and development projects.

“Whoever is running this program needs to have a good understanding of the technical department to make sure these funds are properly distributed,” said O’Donnell.

He added that government policymakers and leaders who oversee the distribution of competition package funds must proceed carefully to ensure that they are distributed evenly and appropriately.

“At any point, if this smells like handouts to any of these tech companies, it’s going to be a political uproar,” O’Donnell said.

Makenzie Holland is a news writer covering big tech and federal regulation. Prior to joining TechTarget, Wilmington Star News crime and education reporter wabash plain dealer.