Texas and SEMATECH Launch Advanced Materials Research Center in Austin to Preserve Technology Leadership and Pave Way for Tomorrow’s Employers

Austin, TX (29 March, 2004) – The State of Texas and SEMATECH today announced the signing of an agreement to launch the Advanced Materials Research Center (AMRC) with the University of Texas (UT) System and other Texas universities to investigate promising new semiconductor technologies and help ensure the state’s high-tech future.

The aim of the five-year AMRC effort will be to accelerate the commercialization of critical technology research that economists believe will generate the industries, careers, and tax revenue of the future.

The AMRC will focus on leading-edge materials and capabilities for next-generation semiconductors, as well as cutting edge research in nanotechnology, biotechnology, and other related advanced high-tech areas.

The initial $40M funding for the AMRC will be provided by the newly formed Texas Enterprise Fund and the remaining $160M will be funded from various sources over the next four years. This effort is expected to generate more than 4,000 high-tech jobs in Texas over the next ten years.

“This is a great day for Texas technology and for the economic future of all of our citizens,” said Texas Governor Rick Perry. “The AMRC will combine the enormous research strengths of Texas universities with SEMATECH’s world-class technology development and proven program management experience. Together, these institutions will advance the technologies that will help drive our state’s economy for the next 50 years, and keep Texas a leader in scientific achievement.”

Texas Congressman John Carter added, “As important as the AMRC is to Texas, this center will play a critical national role in maintaining our country's leadership in high-tech and future technologies. The United States must maintain its dominance in these key areas, so that we can preserve our economic prosperity and maintain our national defense and security that is second to none.”

Under the agreement, the new center will establish a set of advanced material and technology projects to extend CMOS transistors to their limits and beyond. At the same time, researchers will pursue projects addressing the challenges of creating multiple layers of wiring within a semiconductor device, including the development of new insulator materials, improved “wires,” and novel next-generation approaches.

Lithography, the central component of semiconductor manufacturing technology, also will be a major focus. Work is planned on extending critical lithography components to overcome daunting industry patterning challenges, an effort that will include the emerging optical immersion techniques.

“The AMRC’s mission is to accelerate the commercialization of critical research in advanced technology, and it is a key component of the Texas Technology Initiative,” said Dave Saathoff, SEMATECH senior vice president and chief administrative officer. “The semiconductor industry has driven miniaturization and specialty materials for nearly 50 years.”

Added SEMATECH Associate Director Randy Goodall, “This achievement, combined with the people, facilities, and investment infrastructure provided by the semiconductor industry, forms the foundation of many vital emerging technologies, including nanotechnology and micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS).”

The Texas Technology Initiative (TTI) is a strategic plan created by an alliance of state political and business leaders, educators, and entrepreneurs committed to preserving the leadership of Texas and the nation in high technology and related industries. TTI spokesman Pike Powers said establishment of the new materials center “is critical to keeping Texas in the running for high technology, especially when it comes to attracting new companies and industries that appreciate our technical strength.”

“This agreement capitalizes on the strong relationship that the university and SEMATECH have enjoyed for the past 15 years,” said Larry Faulkner, president of the University of Texas at Austin. “It opens the door to an exciting panorama of research opportunities in current and future technologies. In particular, it allows the university to work with SEMATECH in selecting key technology topics, in an effort to accelerate the flow of university research into the commercial enterprises that will be the employers of the future.”

Mark G. Yudof, chancellor of the UT System, said: “This major investment by the State of Texas in advanced research represents a visionary approach toward strengthening Texas higher education as well as private-sector business. This new collaboration between UT and SEMATECH will extend their relationship in ways that will lead to new manufacturing processes, new industries, and new jobs. We are excited about this extraordinary opportunity to contribute to the economic development of Texas, and we are grateful to all the state leaders who have made this new venture possible.”

Ben Streetman, dean of UT's College of Engineering added, “We at UT Austin are excited to be working with SEMATECH on an even greater level of collaboration in the AMRC, which will allow innovations by our faculty and students to be quickly tested in a manufacturing environment, and rapidly made available for production. Our participation in the TTI is expected to further elevate the national stature of the University of Texas engineering programs.”

“I’d like to thank all of our Texas state leaders—Governor Perry, Lt. Governor Dewhurst, Speaker Craddick, and the legislators—for their vision and consistent support in driving the AMRC from a compelling concept to an imminent reality,” said Michael Polcari, SEMATECH president and CEO. “Our Board of Directors is delighted with this opportunity to leverage the resources of both UT and SEMATECH.”

Polcari added, “This enhanced relationship with the University of Texas and other Texas universities will allow us to drive our most valuable programs to success levels that will overcome the challenges of the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors. Our collaboration will reinforce SEMATECH’s goal of developing the materials and infrastructure required for the semiconductor industry and future advanced technologies.”

Concluded Gov. Perry: “The bottom line is that investing in the semiconductor industry, and the many emerging technologies related to it, is vital to the future of Texas.”

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