TI senior fellow testifies before House Science
Committee on nanotechnology bill
TI Senior Fellow Bob Doering recently testified on
behalf of both TI and the Semiconductor Industry Association
before the House Science Committee on the draft National
Nanotechnology Initiative Amendments Act of 2008. The
bill (H.R. 5940) was introduced on May 1 and included
many of the revisions suggested in the testimony.
Bob Doering addresses U.S. House Science Committee.
Nanotechnology is science and engineering
at the scale of atoms and molecules. Scientists
believe that in the future, nanotechnology will help
innovate and build a new generation of improved
electronic devices, but research funding is critical
Potential applications for nanoelectronics
Doering stated that two areas were key to the legislation: first, identification
of "areas of national importance," and second, the translation of
basic research into commercialization to ensure that federal research maintains
U.S. nanotechnology leadership and contributes to U.S. economic competitiveness.
The "areas of national importance" will
help focus federal research on national challenges
that can benefit from the application of
nanotechnology. The bill identifies four areas —
health care, energy efficiency, and water
purification. Doering noted the importance of prioritizing
around research to address critical challenges
facing the country.
"Nanoelectronics will enable improved information
processing, communications, imaging and sensor technologies
will assist in addressing energy challenges, improving
health care and detecting national security threats," Doering
He highlighted the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative
(NRI) as an example of the model partnerships that
can be formed among the federal government, industry,
universities and states. Six U.S. semiconductor companies
(TI, AMD, Freescale, IBM, Intel, and Micron) formed
the NRI consortium in 2005. Their goal is to provide
industry funds to universities and accelerate research
to overcome the limits of current technology that the
semiconductor industry has used for more than 30 years.
That technology is projected to reach its performance,
energy-efficiency, and cost limits by 2020.
Today, NRI leverages funding and expertise from industry,
the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute
for Standards and Technology, as well as contributions
from state and local governments; and it supports research
at 35 universities and four regional centers.
Doering noted that industry can play an important
role in establishing a balance between "directed" basic
research and its potential commercialization.
The legislation addresses the important role of state
leverage through research, development, and technology
transfer initiatives. Doering cited the efforts of
the State of Texas, the University of Texas System, and
industry that together established a $30 million package
of leveraged funding to attract and support top academic
researchers at the Southwest Academy of Nanoelectronics,
headquartered at the University of Texas in Austin.
H.R. 5940 was approved in the Science Committee on
May 7 and will likely be considered on the House floor
this spring. The bill was introduced by Chairman Bart
Gordon, D-Tenn., and Ranking Member Ralph Hall, R-Texas
(who represents TI Sherman), and has 24 co-sponsors,
including E.B. Johnson, D-Texas; Gabrielle Giffords,
D-Ariz.; Lamar Smith, R-Texas; Michael McCaul, R-Texas;
and Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas.