Oregon State University has the opportunity to compete for up to $150 million in federal funding to advance research in semiconductor and mass timber development, the Biden administration said Monday.
Out of 400 applicants, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration designated 31 areas as TechHubs, including two projects led by OSU. The designation allows the projects to compete for up to $75 million each in federal funding approved by Congress in the 2022 CHIPS and Science Act. The law aims to advance U.S. research and development in industries like computer chip manufacturing and clean energy technology.
“We’re going to invest in critical technologies like biotechnology, critical materials, quantum computing, advanced manufacturing, so the U.S. will lead the world again in innovation across the board,” President Joe Biden said in prepared comments announcing the hubs. “These hubs all around the country will bring together private industry, higher education, state and local governments, tribes and organized labor.”
The Corvallis Microfluidics Tech Hub is focused on technology related to semiconductor and electronic cooling. In his remarks, Biden noted that semiconductor chips affect things from cell phones to cars to refrigerators to “the most sophisticated weapons systems we have.”
The other hub focuses on reducing the timber industry’s contributions to climate change. OSU will lead the Pacific Northwest Mass Timber Tech Hub in creating mass timber design and construction meant to lower the industry’s carbon output.
The designation as a tech hub doesn’t guarantee federal funding. Instead, it’s a step towards being chosen to share in $500 million allocated by the CHIPS and Science Act. Of the 31 projects designated Monday, five to 10 are expected to receive federal funding in implementation grants.
Additionally, a Portland State University-led project developing a regional strategy to incorporate renewable energy and storage into the electric grid received a strategic development grant, which is a precursor to being designated a Tech Hub in the future.
Separately on Monday, semiconductor manufacturer Intel said it would expand operations in Oregon if it receives federal money from the CHIPS and Science Act. State and local officials have already committed funds to help the semiconductor manufacturer upgrade its Hillsboro campus, where more than 20,000 people work.