The University of Notre Dame has signed a memorandum of understanding to establish the Midwest Regional Network to Address National Needs in Semiconductor and Microelectronics. The network will include 12 research universities in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio with the common goal of advancing semiconductor research, innovation and production.
“Semiconductors are indispensable to devices we use daily, from smartphones to computers to automobiles,” Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., said. “We are pleased that, together with our esteemed partners, Notre Dame will be able to use its strengths in semiconductor and microelectronics research to support the economic development of our Midwestern region and our nation at a crucial time.”
Although the United States’ share of global semiconductor manufacturing stands at just 12 percent, recent global semiconductor shortages have led manufacturers to announce nearly $80 billion in new investments in the U.S., including $20 billion from Intel Corp. to construct a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility outside of Columbus, Ohio.
“These new investments bring unprecedented opportunities for our students and faculty,” said Alan Seabaugh, the Frank M. Freimann Professor of Electrical Engineering and director of Notre Dame Nanoscience and Technology (NDnano). “It is exciting to see semiconductor manufacturing taking a foothold in the Midwest. Through this new collaboration, our students and researchers will be well-positioned to serve this urgent need.”
Seabaugh will serve on the network’s steering committee along with representatives from the 11 other member universities. The steering committee’s initial work will be to establish the network’s leadership and management structure, as well as to focus on three objectives. The first is to design the curriculum needed for preparing a skilled workforce. Second, it will advance research and innovation involving semiconductors and the devices and systems that rely on them. Lastly, the network will create opportunities for experiential learning — such as teaching laboratories — that can serve multiple universities.
The partnership between the universities will also enable them to collectively pursue state, federal and industry funding to grow their capacities to engage in semiconductor-related research. Each member university will also be invited to consider the ways its work on semiconductors can help address the particular needs and opportunities of the Midwest as a region.
The Midwest Regional Network to Address National Needs in Semiconductor and Microelectronics includes the following founding members: Ohio State University, Case Western Reserve University, Columbus State Community College, Lorain County Community College, Michigan State University, Purdue University, Sinclair Community College, University of Cincinnati, University of Dayton, University of Michigan, University of Notre Dame and Wright State University.
The network anticipates growth beyond the initial cohort of universities. To learn more or to become involved, visit nano.nd.edu.