SEMI educates policymakers on 450mm transition
Jonathan Davis, president, SEMI Semiconductor Business.
With estimates for the R&D cost of 450mm wafer transition running in the tens of billions of dollars, public-private partnerships will have a critical role throughout the world. Already, the State of New York is anticipating a $400 million investment in advanced chip research over the coming years and the European Union is funding research in a variety of Key Enabling Technologies including microelectronics manufacturing. Many countries around the world will see next-generation 450mm wafer tools and fabs as critical features of a national competitiveness strategy. In anticipation of the increased role in government support for advanced chip manufacturing technology, SEMI has been actively engaged in education and other efforts with policymakers around the world.
As the topic of the transition to 450mm becomes more relevant at industry seminars, conferences, and boardrooms, SEMI has met with over 50 Federal and State government officials to discuss the likely impacts and requirements on a chip industry transition to 450mm wafers.
Along with a group of member company representatives, SEMI recently met with senior staff for California Governor Jerry Brown in the state capital of Sacramento. With 200 SEMI member companies headquartered in California, semiconductor manufacturing is high-priority issue for the Governor Brown's office. Gov. Brown has shown great leadership in not only understanding the needs of the semiconductor equipment industry in California, but the need for a strong domestic industry infrastructure across the nation.
On the national level, Representative Mike Honda (D-CA) has been fully engaged in learning more about the semiconductor equipment industry, as he represents a large portion of Silicon Valley in the House of Representatives. Rep. Honda sits on the powerful Appropriations Committee which writes the annual bills that directly fund the federal government. The Congressman visited SEMI headquarters in February to hear directly from SEMI members about the challenges that they are facing and meet with SEMI staff to hear their policy concerns. Rep. Honda also organized a briefing for other Members of Congress and their staffs in Washington, D.C. to hear from the President of the SEMI Semiconductor IC Business Unit Jonathan Davis about the semiconductor equipment industry overall, and about the 450mm transition in particular. Rep. Honda also penned an op-ed in The Hill, a Washington political newspaper, about the need for the U.S. government to compete with other nations in supporting the 450mm transition.
Along with Rep. Honda, SEMI has received positive support for its education efforts from Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY) who represents a large swath of the upstate New York Capital Corridor, and whose district includes the Global Foundries Fab in Malta, NY. SEMI has also been active in working with members of both parties in the U.S. Senate including Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Senator Scott Brown (R-MA), and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Each one of these Senators has significant SEMI membership in their states and has been working hard to engage on the issues surrounding the transition to 450mm.
There is much work to be done before the industry fully transitions to 450mm technology. In order to be completely prepared, policymakers must be fully informed of the issues that surround the transition, and SEMI is working to ensure that they understand the ramifications of such a massive industry undertaking.
SEMI's Washington D.C. office continues to focus on key issues and holds events such as the Washington Forum and other lobbying activities to ensure that our industry's collective voice is heard. Please let us know if you would like to get involved in public policy efforts in the U.S. (contact SEMI at www.semi.org).
Solid State Technology, Volume 55, Issue 5, June 2012