- Indiana and Purdue University signed a memorandum of understanding with Belgium-based research firm Imec last week to collaborate on advancing semiconductor research and development in the state.
- The five-year agreement will focus on furthering R&D collaboration among students, faculty and experts between Indiana and Belgium. Each institution will contribute to the project, totaling $10 million, a Purdue University spokesperson told Manufacturing Dive in an email.
- The initiative, which is expected to kick off on June 1, was announced at last week’s SelectUSA Investment Summit, an annual conference hosted by the Department of Commerce to entice foreign direct investment to the country.
In addition to the MOU, Purdue has made other moves to respond to rising semiconductor demand. The new agreement aligns with the school’s Purdue Computes initiative, its strategy to hire 100 computing and physical AI faculty members and invest $100 million toward semiconductor research and learning facilities over the next five years
“[The agreement] is a global piece of the puzzle that marks another milestone in Purdue’s semiconductor programs and Indiana’s emerging microelectronics industry,” Purdue’s Chief Semiconductor Officer Mark Lundstrom said in a statement. “Future-focused partnerships like this help bring together world-class expertise and state-of-the-art facilities.”
The first phase of the Computes initiative includes $49 million toward the Scifres Nanofabrication Laboratory, a hub for microelectronics research at Purdue.
This isn’t the first public-private semiconductor partnership Purdue has undertaken. Last year, the university partnered with chipmaker MediaTek to open the company’s first semiconductor chip design center in the Midwest, which is housed on Purdue’s mixed-used development site, Discovery Park District
To help grow the state’s talent pipeline, Purdue launched a semiconductor degrees program in May 2022, including offerings for Masters of Science, stackable postgraduate certificates, Bachelor of Science and associate degrees.
Discovery Park District has become Purdue’s hub for semiconductor facilities. Last July, chipmaker SkyWater Technology announced plans to open a $1.8 billion semiconductor manufacturing facility there, joining other manufacturers on campus including Rolls Royce, Saab, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and Wabash.
Purdue isn’t the only school responding to the demand for technical manufacturing skills. Arizona State University established the School of Manufacturing Systems and Networks in October, which trains students for a career in an industry that now demands high-level data analysis and technological expertise.