Midwest Microelectronics Consortium Selected As Microelectronics Innovation Hub
Microelectronics Commons Program will accelerate “lab-to-fab” breakthroughs
for military and civilian applications.
Published: Wed Sep 20 2023
Columbus, Ohio, September 20, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) - Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, JobsOhio President and CEO J.P. Nauseef today announced that the Midwest Microelectronics Consortium (MMEC), a multi-state, regional initiative led by Ohio and dedicated to advancing the research and production of crucial microelectronics for the defense industry, was awarded regional hub designation and $24.3 million for FY 23 through the prestigious Microelectronics Commons (ME Commons) program. This partnership with the Department of Defense (DoD) places Ohio, as a part of the MMEC, among the eight regional "Hubs" nationwide. The MMEC comprises over 65 public, private, and nonprofit entities, with leadership from many key Ohio institutions.
This public-private technology hub will connect the Midwest's world-class academic institutions, prominent corporate leaders, and government partners, unlocking transformative microelectronics capabilities. Backed by $2 billion in federal CHIPS Science Act funding, Ohio's leadership within the MMEC will position Ohio at the epicenter of a national network aiming to revolutionize the "lab-to-fab" microelectronics ecosystem while simultaneously solving national security challenges. Governor DeWine, Lt. Governor Husted, and JobsOhio worked with Ohio's Congressional delegation and the Ohio Grants Alliance to build collaborative advocacy for the MMEC's selection as an ME Commons hub.
"Being chosen as a critical hub in the ME Commons initiative places the Midwest, with leadership from key Ohio institutions, at the heart of American-made semiconductor innovation," said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. "The partnerships forged with Ohio’s business, academic and community leaders have resulted in bringing this prestigious hub to the Midwest. The foundation for this statewide collaboration was laid during the advocacy for the CHIPS Act in 2021 and 2022, and more recently, it has gained momentum as we seize the opportunities arising from Intel's $20 billion investment in our state."
Currently, the United States leads in microelectronics design but accounts for only 12% of global microelectronics production, with the bulk of microelectronics production occurring in Asia. This reality poses a significant risk to the U.S. microelectronics supply chain. It includes the potential loss of critical intellectual property, diminished market influence, and a heightened dependence on foreign economies.
Microelectronics Commons is meticulously designed to tackle the two major obstacles hindering domestic production: the viability and marketability of new microelectronics technologies and access to facilities for innovators. Both industry and academia researchers lack access to the facilities needed to explore, prototype, and demonstrate leap-ahead technological advancements. This gap complicates the translation of academic concepts into prototype production in industry.
To address these challenges, ME Commons will:
- Foster enduring partnerships among emerging technology sources, manufacturing facilities, and interagency partners
- Cultivate a talent pipeline to strengthen local semiconductor economies and contribute to the growth of the domestic semiconductor workforce
- Bridge the gap between microelectronics research and production
- Expand domestic microelectronics fabrication capabilities
- Enhance microelectronics education and training to bolster the microelectronic engineering workforce
"Ohio's rich history of supporting innovation at key military and defense institutions like the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson AFB and NASA Glenn Research Center, coupled with our world-class educational facilities and a talented workforce, make our state the complete package to contribute to the Midwest region's technology hub under the ME Commons program," JobsOhio president and CEO J.P. Nauseef said. "This consortium leverages and expands Ohio's infrastructure, knowledge, and drive to propel the industry forward."
What sets the Midwest Microelectronics Consortium apart from other models is its structure as a new 501(c)6 nonprofit with a role-based membership approach. This approach maps member expertise to project support based on functional needs, ensuring that all stages of the "lab-to-fab" transition are adequately represented.
More than 65 top-tier institutions have joined forces to unite academia, industry, workforce development efforts, and the semiconductor industry. Leveraging Ohio's unparalleled research universities as well as partners like Lockheed Martin, Intel, and the U.S. Air Force, the consortium integrates expertise across the microelectronics value chain.
Academia assumes a pivotal role, contributing to research, selective prototyping, and workforce development. MMEC will engage directly with each participating state's educator network, including community colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Military Veteran Networks. Meanwhile, industry partners will collectively contribute to research and development, prototyping, and proof-of-concepts, among other responsibilities.
Institutions participating in MMEC can anticipate a host of positive impacts: new projects with the Department of Defense, facilitated research and development opportunities in the region, increased job creation at member institutions, the establishment of new companies, and the development of more robust educational pipelines.
The Midwest Microelectronics Consortium's holistic approach spans both defense and commercial markets. Using the input of members, industry, core facility providers, academia, and government, the MMEC will provide a central hub for the development of a scalable and resilient microelectronics manufacturing ecosystem.
"This is a big win and serves as another opportunity for Ohio to take the lead in reshoring semiconductor production and securing vital defense and commercial microelectronics research and manufacturing," said Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted. "With a focus on delivering the best solutions to our nation's warfighters and supporting our critical National Security Strategy, we are confident in our ability to both secure and expand America's leadership in the global microelectronics supply chain. It's another step for Ohio to help America advance our economic and national security."
For more information about Ohio's leadership in defense microelectronics innovation and the Midwest Microelectronics Consortium (MMEC), please visit their website at https://mmeconsortium.org/.
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