The Defense Department announced the “Microelectronics Commons (Commons) FY24 Call for Projects to Catalyze U.S. Microelectronics Innovation” last December. According to Mr. Jason Lapadula, the Director of Strategic Communications for Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering, $280 million will be allocated for these projects.

The primary focus is to support the domestic prototyping and fabrication of microelectronics and build a sustainable pipeline of domestically produced microelectronics for the military.

Microelectronic Project Awards

The Department anticipates project awards to occur in the third quarter of FY 2024. Eight (Commons) regional innovation hubs were established across the nation last September. They are tasked with evolving laboratory prototypes into fabrication prototypes and strengthening the semiconductor workforce.

There are currently over 380 Hub organizations – more than 100 of which are academic institutions – spanning 35 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

This funding will be applied across six technical areas: Secure Edge/Internet of Things (IoT) Computing; 5G/6G Technology; Artificial Intelligence Hardware; Quantum Technology; Electromagnetic Warfare; and Commercial Leap Ahead Technologies.

Microelectronics designs originating from U.S. universities, and from small and large businesses alike, frequently don’t make it to large-scale production due to high fabrication costs. The Commons eases this transition for microelectronics that are vital for our national security interests.

The Chips and Science Act

The CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 is the foundation from which the microelectronics call for projects originates. This act was designed to boost American semiconductor research, development, and production, ensuring U.S. leadership in the technology that forms the foundation of everything from automobiles to household appliances to defense systems.

The CHIPS and Science Act provides $52.7 billion for American semiconductor research, development, manufacturing, and workforce development. This includes $39 billion in manufacturing incentives, including $2 billion for the legacy chips used in automobiles and defense systems, $13.2 billion in R&D and workforce development, and $500 million to provide for international information communications technology security and semiconductor supply chain activities.

The bill requires recipients to demonstrate significant worker and community investments, including opportunities for small businesses and disadvantaged communities, ensuring semiconductor incentives support equitable economic growth and development.

Microelectronic Opportunities

There are numerous opportunities for institutions and businesses to submit projects by February 28. It’s not too late to get involved and submit the required documentation to have your projects considered. The call for project submissions was released December 18, 2023 and final submissions are due end of February 2024.

There are currently 78 calls for project submissions listed on the National Security Technology Accelerator Board. Topics range from electromagnetic warfare, 5G/6G technology, weapons performance analysis, artificial intelligence hardware, countermeasures devices, quantum technology, antenna technology to classified test material for hypersonics (CTMH) and everything in between.

The Chips and Science Act was designed to ensure America remains a leader in science and technology, not only today but also in the future. With these initiatives, chip manufacturers are incentivized to build factories in America instead of offshoring to China and other countries – an essential ingredient to stabilizing our supply chains.

Related News

Dennis V. Damp, the creator of and, is a retired federal manager, business owner, career counselor and veteran. Damp is the author of 28 books, his books were featured in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times and U.S. News & World Report.