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Here's what the CHIPS Act could mean for ASU and Arizona

ASU spent nearly $250,000 lobbying for the CHIPS Act and will receive federal funding for research and development

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The CHIPS Act aims to address supply chain vulnerabilities and reduce American trade and technological reliance on China. 


In early 2022, ASU spent nearly $250,000 lobbying for various federal provisions, key among which was elevating domestic semiconductor manufacturing.

The lobbying was successful. On Aug. 9, 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors and Science Act, investing over $52 billion into domestic semiconductor manufacturing. This act aims to address supply chain vulnerabilities and reduce American trade and technological reliance on China.

Semiconductors are materials that can act as both insulators and conductors, a value that makes them excellent brains for electronic devices. Semiconductors have been instrumental in manufacturing computers and other technological devices.

"I can find cancer quicker, I can make discoveries more quickly, I can build complete chemical structures of non environmentally degradative chemicals from that kind of microchip," said ASU President Michael Crow at an Aug. 30 ASU event highlighting the CHIPS Act investment. "I can do chemical calculations, I can do anything that you can possibly imagine if I only had more computational power."

How much ASU stands to receive from the bill is yet to be decided. 

The bill has additional advantages for Arizonans, with the state being one of the largest manufacturers of semiconductors in the country. Arizona ranks fourth in the country for semiconductor manufacturing jobs and exports $3.5 billion annually, making it the second most significant export. Semiconductor manufacturing further provides $8 billion in wages to Arizonans, according to data from the Semiconductor Industry Association.

READ MORE: Catch up on what else ASU has lobbied for this year

At a tour of the MacroTechnology Works building at ASU on Aug. 30, Sen. Mark Kelly discussed the impact this bill will have on the semiconductor industry and job prospects in Arizona, highlighting the “tens of thousands of really good paying jobs” the bill will create.

ASU is among the largest of the 107 establishments in Arizona that work with semiconductors. ASU’s MacroTechnology Works, a 250,000-square-foot semiconductor and research hub at ASU’s Advanced Materials, Processes and Energy Devices Science and Technology Center in Tempe, invested $14.3 million in state-of-the-art equipment in 2022 alone.  

Zachary Holman, an associate professor in engineering who was in the University's efforts to support the legislation, shared what he thought the benefits of the bill might be for the ASU community.

“I think the ways that ASU researchers will benefit … include new facilities at ASU, dollars to conduct research, support of undergraduate and graduate students doing research, new programs to support undergraduates, community college and other folks, including people who are already in industry, in training, and state of the art,” Holman said.

Holman also addressed the money ASU spent in support of the bill, saying, “I'd have to imagine that there will be a considerably larger return to ASU than the $250,000" it spent lobbying in support of it.

The bill will have many other benefits for ASU students and faculty. During the same press conference, Greater Phoenix Economic Council CEO & President Chris Camacho pointed out how the bill will help advance ASU's New Economy Initiative.

READ MORE: Here's what you need to know about ASU's New Economy Initiative 

The initiative aims to improve economic opportunity and enhance workforce preparation in Arizona over the coming decades. As reported by ASU News in January 2022, the initiative hopes to create at least 40,000 high-paying jobs by 2041 and boost economic output to $6.9 billion by 2032.

Adjacent to the initiative, the bill also incentivizes companies like the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, which has committed to creating at least 2,000 jobs for their factory in Phoenix. The company has already hired over 200 ASU engineering graduates for research and development projects.

Despite the successes of the bill, Holman emphasized that it was not the final solution to the country's research and semiconductor deficit.

“We have the potential to do great things, also the potential to screw it up, of course, not just as a university, more so as a country," Holman said. "I hope that there's some realization that a one-time injection of cash is never as effective as sustained continued support for things that we care about nationally."

Correction: This story was updated at 10 a.m. on Sept. 22 to correct the headline. An earlier headline of this story inaccurately said ASU would receive funding from the CHIPS Act. The University will be able to compete for funding. We regret the error. 

Edited by Reagan Priest, Wyatt Myskow and Grace Copperthite.


Reach the reporter at rchatty@asu.edu and follow @rishabchatty on Twitter.

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