The University of Michigan (U-M) has received significant funding from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to support the revitalization of the U.S. semiconductor sector. This funding comes as part of the CHIPS and Science Act, totaling $238 million. U-M is a founding member of two of the eight Microelectronics Commons regional innovation hubs established by the DoD.

Researchers examining plates inside the Lurie Nanofabrication Facility. Photo: Joseph Xu/Michigan Engineering
Researchers inspecting wafers in the Lurie Nanofabrication Facility. Photo: Joseph Xu/Michigan Engineering

The Microelectronics Commons program aims to accelerate domestic hardware prototyping, commercialization of semiconductor technologies, and the development of the U.S.-based semiconductor workforce. Its ultimate goal is to reduce dependence on foreign microelectronics and protect the nation from supply chain risks. U-M will play key roles in two of these hubs:

  1. The $32.9 million Silicon Crossroads Microelectronics Commons Hub, led by the Applied Research Institute (ARI) and the state of Indiana, with 130 hub members.
  2. The $24.3 million Midwest Microelectronics Consortium Hub, led by the Midwest Microelectronics Consortium and the state of Ohio, with 65 hub members.

U-M is committed to leveraging its expertise and infrastructure to promote a secure, resilient, and innovative domestic semiconductor sector. It recognizes the talent and potential for semiconductor research and education in the Midwest region, as well as the strong manufacturing base and growing semiconductor industry ecosystem.

These Microelectronics Commons hubs will receive funding for five years and will focus on critical areas such as secure edge/IoT computing, 5G/6G, AI hardware, quantum technology, electromagnetic warfare, and commercial leap ahead technologies. More details about the projects within the hubs will be disclosed at the Microelectronics Commons Annual Meeting in October.

These initiatives are part of U-M's broader efforts to revitalize the domestic semiconductor sector. Other endeavors include leading a National Science Foundation (NSF) project to prototype new materials for high-power electronics applications, co-founding the Michigan Semiconductor Talent and Automotive Research (MSTAR) center, participating in regional semiconductor workforce development through MSN Force, and hosting the Michigan Semiconductor Hands-On Research Experience program to provide college students with research opportunities.

U-M has extensive expertise and research facilities in semiconductor technology, spanning materials, device fabrication, circuit design, and AI hardware solutions. It is one of the largest U.S. institutions educating students in microelectronics and computing, with over 5,800 students enrolled in related programs. The university has also contributed to the growth of influential microelectronics startups and has supported local companies through its Lurie Nanofabrication Facility.

All these funding announcements and partnerships reinforce U-M's commitment to advancing the U.S. semiconductor sector, fostering innovation, and developing a skilled semiconductor workforce.