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Florida-Based NSF Regional Innovation Engine Kicks Off

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) recently announced the ten awardees for the first-ever NSF Regional Innovation Engines (NSF Engines) competition, a program which seeks to catalyze and foster innovation ecosystems across the United States. Of the ten teams, only one has a semiconductor focus. The team led by BRIDG, a Florida-based, not-for-profit, public-private partnership focused on developing and commercializing advanced technologies, ultimately was announced as a winner for “NSF Engine: Central Florida Semiconductor Innovation Engine.” Supporting BRIDG is a team of ten University of Florida (UF) researchers, led by Dr. Yong-Kyu Yoon from the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE). The full team includes (from ECE) Dr. Navid Asadi, Dr. Christophe Bobda, Dr. Farimah Farahmandi, Dr. Baibhab Chatterjee, Dr. Philip Feng, Dr. Mark Tehranipoor, as well as Dr. Gloria Kim (Department of Engineering Education), Dr. Hyo Kang (UF Digital Worlds Institute), and Dr. Brent Gila (Department of Materials Science & Engineering). The winning team is poised to play a critical role in bolstering our nation’s production capacity of semiconductors, particularly in the emerging sector of advanced semiconductor packaging.

“This Center focuses on building a collaborative ecosystem of researchers, manufacturers, suppliers, workforce, and economic development experts to grow the Florida-based chip industry.”


The NSF Engines award in support of the Central Florida Semiconductor Innovation Engine dovetails with many efforts statewide to grow and expand semiconductor manufacturing in the state of Florida, efforts spurred by the CHIPS and Science Act, which authorized roughly $280 billion in new funding to boost domestic research and manufacturing of semiconductors in the United States. It’s well known that the vast majority of semiconductor manufacturing takes place abroad in just a handful of countries. The United States, where much of the technology was invented, largely offshored production to countries in Asia decades ago. Supply chain disruptions and national security issues, routinely in the news, bear witness to the results of this policy. With the CHIPS & Science Act, the U.S. government is determined to bring the manufacturing of these critical devices back to the U.S. Massive infrastructure spending, research funding, incentives, and investments are all part of this generational effort.

“It is so exciting to be part of the ten inaugural NSF regional engine program teams. We’re the only Florida team and the only semiconductor-focused team, directly responding to the national activities regarding the Chips and Science Act. Our Florida team is proud to lead the charge in the important semiconductor packaging, manufacturing, and security areas. We are committed to advancing the semiconductor industry in the United States and contributing to the nation’s economic growth and security.”

—Y.K. Yoon, UF Lead

Yoon added that the lack of domestic semiconductor manufacturing takes results in pressing economic, environmental, and national security concerns. The semiconductor chip packaging industry (the process by which multiple semiconductor devices are merged and packaged as a single electronic device) is particularly inequitable, with only 2-3% of semiconductor packaging activities currently occurring within the United States.

The overall objective of this major effort is laid out on the BRIDG website. NSF Engines: Central Florida Semiconductor Innovation Engine will:

  • bring together major Central Florida research institutions, local government, nonprofits, and economic and workforce development partners that play key roles in growing the diversity of the local economy and driving investment into the region
  • drive economic growth in the regional ecosystem around semiconductors, leveraging R1 universities and leading international R&D organizations to coordinate use-inspired research that will lead to translatable innovations designed to have an immediate impact in commercial spaces
  • take advantage of the proximity of businesses to research institutes to ensure that research is use-inspired and ready to translate into the market

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