Florida semiconductor corridor secures up to $160 million in federal funding

by | Feb 5, 2024

The National Science Foundation has designated the Central Florida Semiconductor Innovation Engine as a Regional Innovation Engine, granting it access to up to $160 million in federal funding over the next decade.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) last week designated the Central Florida Semiconductor Innovation Engine as a Regional Innovation Engine, opening the facility to tens of millions in funding across the next decade.

The federal initiative, part of the NSF’s broader Regional Innovation Engines program, provides grants to research hubs across the country to facilitate technological innovation. Each of the ten NSF Engines will initially receive up to $15 million for two years. The agency’s inaugural $150 million investment is being matched nearly two-to-one in commitments from state and local governments, other federal agencies, philanthropy, and private industry.

The Central Florida Semiconductor Innovation Engine, housed within the NeoCity tech hub, is led by a coalition including local government, academic institutions, and industry partners. The development aims to establish Central Florida as a player in the semiconductor manufacturing sector. The NSF grant will support the development of NeoCity into a hub for semiconductor production in a wide range of technologies, from smartphones to advanced computing systems.

“Over the last eight years, Osceola County, Florida, had the foresight to make key strategic investments in semiconductor talent pipelines, develop industry partnerships with global leaders in the semiconductor industry, and build an unprecedented county-owned fabrication facility on a green industrial park with space to grow,” the NSF said upon granting the award.

In the coming years, regional engines that demonstrate progress toward well-defined milestones could potentially receive up to $160 million from NSF, according to the initiative’s guidelines. The funds are delivered through the “CHIPS and Science Act of 2022,” which authorized the NSF Engines program.

“Through these NSF Engines, NSF aims to expand the frontiers of technology and innovation and spur economic growth across the nation through unprecedented investments in people and partnerships. NSF Engines hold significant promise to elevate and transform entire geographic regions into world-leading hubs of innovation,” said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan.

In September, the State of Florida invested $50 million in its semiconductor industry to support manufacturing, advanced packaging, and development projects. The sum will be equally divided, with $25 million allocated through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund by FloridaCommerce and the other $25 million through the Workforce Development Capitalization Incentive Grant Program by the Florida Department of Education.

The allocation will be administered through FloridaCommerce and the Florida Department of Education with the aim of bolstering the state’s manufacturing capabilities, securing its supply chain, and creating jobs. Florida currently ranks fifth in the nation for semiconductor manufacturing jobs and third for semiconductor establishments.

Moreover, Gov. Ron DeSantis stated last that he has recommended an allocation of $80 million for the University of Florida’s (UF) newly-announced Semiconductor Institute, aimed at providing coordination within Florida’s burgeoning semiconductor industry.

According to the university, the semiconductor institute, which was announced in October, will serve as a hub for coordinating activities related to the development and manufacturing of microchips in Florida. It will also advise the state and promote public-private partnerships to support the industry in the state.


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