Lawmakers and industry members tout Austin’s growing presence in the semiconductor business

U.S. Senator John Cornyn, right, and U.S. Representative Michael McCaul, left, toured the Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas on April 18. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)

Central Texas could see its role in the semiconductor manufacturing space expand over the next few years as lawmakers, industry members and education officials look to the region as a hotspot. turning point for the increasingly critical field.

The Austin area is home to the factories or offices of several major players in the tech space, including AMD, Applied Materials, Micron, NXP and Samsung, some of which already have multi-billion dollar expansions underway. Representatives from these companies joined U.S. Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, and U.S. Representative Michael McCaul, R-Austin, April 18 at the University of Texas Research Campus for a discussion about the local presence of industry and national efforts to boost the US semiconductor. skill.

While UT is already home to semiconductor facilities and related educational opportunities, officials said related federal legislation could further boost the university’s work while generating greater investment in Texas. CHIPS for America Lawsponsored by Cornyn in the US Senate and McCaul in the House, would broaden the government’s focus on semiconductors with additional billions for research and collaborations in the field.

UT is in line to benefit if the bill passes. The Texas Institute for Electronics, a partnership of dozens of companies and educational institutions including UT, could receive a significant portion of the act’s $13 billion in research and development investments, including up to to $3 billion dedicated to new or expanded semiconductor facilities.

Texas congressmen said this week that the need for increased US semiconductor production ranges from the smallest scale of personal electronics to national research and security concerns. Given the presence of local industry already, further private sector investment in addition to the provisions of the CHIPS Act could make Central Texas a key contributor in the future.

“This bill allocated $13 billion for research and development that could come to Texas. It’s a regional conflict here. We’re fighting against New York and California, but with all the academic institutions we have here and the universities, high tech, I think Austin is becoming the No. 1 hub and high tech hub,” McCaul said. “It makes a lot of sense to me that this center is here. We authorized in law the Semiconductor Technology Center; we are funding it in this bill, and we can’t wait to get it to the finish line.

Pending the bill’s fate, officials said they were prepared to support UT’s role in what Chancellor James Milliken called a “national imperative.” The work could include updates to factories at UT’s Northwest Austin Pickle campus and modernization of its south Montopolis campus, UT Austin President Jay Hartzell said. Community Impact Journal. Most important, Hartzell said, is the ability to train more workers for the growing industry.

“Part of the role of the university is to be one of the magnets where we attract talent. And that effort will be resources and publicity, and give us a rallying cry to help people come to school. university,” he said. “But a big part of partnering – why we work with companies like this – is because they can help inform us [of] what kind of talent do they want? What kind of training do they really need? … What we’re hearing from our industry partners is a need for talent across the spectrum.”

And for now, industry members said they remain interested in offers from the Austin area.

“In many ways, Austin is the heart of innovation for our company,” said Om Nalamasu, vice president and chief technology officer at Applied Materials.

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