$300 million of CHIPS Act R&D funds is officially up for grabs as U.S Department of Commerce opens applications for packaging technology

(Image credit: Microsoft)

The U.S. Department of Commerce is now accepting applications for multiple awards worth as much as $300 million in total in R&D funding for packaging technology. This marks the third funding opportunity from the CHIPS Act and the first from the R&D part of the CHIPS Act, which according to a press release, has an allocation of $11 billion. According to current plans, the awards totaling up to $300 million are expected to be given out in July.

The CHIPS Act has a total budget of $52 billion, most of which is going towards subsidies for companies such as Intel, but $11 billion of those funds are earmarked for R&D. Per a funding opportunity notice from the Commerce Department, up to $300 million of R&D funds will be awarded and spread across multiple awards depending on each applicant's budget requirements. 

The funds are specifically for researching new substrate technologies and materials, which are necessary "to support the breadth of new semiconductor applications" per a press release from the Commerce Department. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimundo remarked that "within a decade, research and activities funded by this advanced packaging program, coupled with CHIPS manufacturing incentives, will establish a vibrant, self-sustaining, and resilient onshore packaging industry, helping ensure our country is a leader in advanced semiconductor manufacturing.”

The funding opportunity focuses on R&D for substrates made of out organic, glass, or semiconductor-based materials and outlined 11 different technical targets that applicants are expected to consider in their applications. Given the focus on chiplets and advanced materials, we should probably expect solutions that are similar to, or even improve upon the latest innovations, such as Intel's upcoming glass substrates

The U.S. government is taking applications from many types of domestic organizations, from regular companies to non-profits to state-sponsored groups to academic institutions. However, since the application form explicitly says co-funding is preferred, it's likely at least one of the awards will be given to an organization that can rely on its own money in addition to a multi-million dollar award. That doesn't necessarily mean a giant like Intel will get an award though, especially since we can't know whether it will apply.

Concept papers, which presumably detail preliminary research proposals, are due on April 12. Full applications are due on July 3, though the Commerce Department may change that date with a 60 day notice.

Alongside the funding opportunity notice was a statement saying the Commerce Department intends to announce further funding opportunities for packaging R&D and for the Advanced Packaging Piloting Facility (APPF), which aims to bring the fruits of research to actual volume production. Additionally, we also expect a funding opportunity for a Manufacturing USA Institute by the end of June, which also uses CHIPS Act R&D funds like these packaging and substrate programs.

Matthew Connatser

Matthew Connatser is a freelancing writer for Tom's Hardware US. He writes articles about CPUs, GPUs, SSDs, and computers in general.