The US National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced that it has signed a $50 million pact with Ericsson, IBM, Intel, and Samsung to support the design of next-generation semiconductors.

This partnership is a part of NSF’s ‘Future of Semiconductors’ (FuSe) initiative, NSF said in a blog post.

Through this partnership activity, NSF will collaborate with Ericsson, IBM, Intel and Samsung to fund projects that “cultivate a broad coalition of science and engineering researchers to pursue holistic, co-design approaches.”

“Future semiconductors and microelectronics will require transdisciplinary research spanning materials, devices, and systems, as well as the engagement of the full spectrum of talent in the academic and industrial sectors,” said Sethuraman Panchanathan, NSF director.

“Partnerships such as this are essential to inform research needs, spur innovation, accelerate the translation of results to the market, and prepare the future workforce,” Panchanathan added.

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By supporting researchers who are integrating materials, devices, architectures, systems, and applications, the new technology is designed and developed in an integrated way.

“Co-design approaches simultaneously consider the device/system performance, manufacturability, recyclability, and impact on the environment,” NSF mentioned.

A nationwide shortage in semiconductors, complicated by the global pandemic, has made it challenging for the chip industry to meet the rising demand for chip-based products.

While that demand is high in the US, only around 10 percent of the global supply of chips is produced nationally.

“Investments through this public-private partnership will help address this problem by spurring research and innovation leading to breakthroughs in semiconductor and microelectronics technologies, aiding the myriad applications that rely upon these devices,” NSF said.

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“This partnership expands upon recent NSF investments to train and build a diverse semiconductor manufacturing workforce in the US,” it added.