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ASU to advance proposal for CHIPS and Science Act funding

December 20, 2022

Regionally collaborative proposal to advance microelectronics research, development and manufacturing in Southwest as part of national network

Responsive to action initiated by the Department of Defense, Arizona State University President Michael Crow has appointed two senior leaders to guide the university in creating a world-class center of excellence for microelectronics research, development education and training.

Sally Morton, executive vice president of ASU’s Knowledge Enterprise, and Kyle Squires, dean of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, will lead an interdisciplinary team composed of ASU faculty, staff and strategic external partners to respond to the Department of Defense’s call for proposals to establish the Microelectronics Commons — a national network funded by the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022.  

“Arizona State University is a national service university, built to accelerate positive outcomes through the integration of cutting-edge technological innovation and to be responsive in moments like this that call upon us to work collaboratively to pursue goals in the vital interest of our country,” ASU President Michael Crow said.

“Under the leadership of Dr. Morton and Dr. Squires and in partnership with colleagues in the private sector, ASU will offer a strategic proposal to the U.S. Department of Defense to create and operate a Microelectronics Commons that drives a coordinated process of innovation at scale and helps the United States succeed in being the global leader in microchip research, development and manufacturing,” Crow said.

The CHIPS and Science Act includes $2 billion for DOD to establish the Microelectronics Commons, which aims to close the innovation “lab-to-fab” capabilities gap in the United States. By building enduring partnerships across emerging technology research and development, manufacturing and government stakeholders at all levels, the Microelectronics Commons will work to scale the semiconductor technologies necessary for the U.S. national security enterprise, and develop the skilled American workforce needed for this essential sector.

The DOD released a Request for Solutions on Nov. 29; responses are due on Feb. 28, 2023. 

ASU is at the center of Arizona’s rapidly growing identity as a global semiconductor hub. Two of the world’s largest semiconductor firms — Intel and TSMC — have announced three megaprojects now totaling $72 billion that will build new or expand existing semiconductor fabrication facilities in the Phoenix area; and Apple recently announced it would begin buying its microchips in Arizona starting in 2024.

The microelectronics industry directly employs 22,000 people in Arizona, and the state’s broader semiconductor supply chain ecosystem includes leading equipment manufacturers, chemicals and materials suppliers, semiconductor packaging firms and defense electronics companies.

Drawing on the region’s strengths, ASU’s proposal will prioritize connecting students, researchers and designers at universities and companies throughout the region with prototyping capabilities, advancing the model established by ASU’s MacroTechnology Works facilities. Building on ASU’s existing partners, the university intends to collaborate with new partners to help the Department of Defense bridge the microelectronics technological “Valley of Death,” and expand domestic microelectronics innovation and manufacturing.  

“Success will be driven by partnerships and collaboration,” Morton said. “The university is working with existing partners and seeking to develop new relationships to build the collective team needed to accomplish the tasks ahead and to partner in not only manufacturing, but in the continued innovation of research and development.”

“ASU has been working toward this goal for more than two years,” Squires said. “We have had input into the process that created the CHIPS and Science Act legislation and we have prepared to be a contributor and higher education and research partner as this unique opportunity has come into sharper focus.”

Arizona U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly, who was instrumental in tailoring the CHIPS and Science Act and building a coalition of support to pass the bill, has worked closely with Arizona business groups, industry and ASU to put the state in position to play a role in this national economic development and national defense priority.

“After nearly two years of work to secure funding for the Department of Defense’s National Network for Microelectronics Research and Development within the CHIPS Act, I’m excited to see this program take shape,” Kelly said. “This program will foster partnerships between universities and industry to establish new capabilities allowing American researchers, entrepreneurs and our armed forces to develop and test new microchip technologies in the United States, not in China.

"ASU has the advanced capabilities needed to make a real impact on the network; I applaud them for their ongoing determination to stay on the cutting edge of such an important mission for our national security and economy.”

Ranked No. 1 in innovation for eight consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report, Arizona State University is home to the largest engineering college in the country, with more than 30,000 students enrolled in seven transdisciplinary engineering schools, including the new School of Manufacturing Systems and Networks. More than 500 faculty members teach on campus and online with more than $150 million in engineering research expenditures in 2022.

Driven by its mission of public service and accelerated by the renewed national focus on domestic chip production, ASU leverages its diverse capabilities, industry-grade facilities, expertise and partnerships to bolster microelectronics research, development and manufacturing at a national scale. 

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Being a good ally in Indigenous research

December 20, 2022

Doing Research in Indigenous Communities Conference showcases Native American research, disciplines at ASU

Indigenous research isn’t just about the collection of data or the academic study of a subject. It’s also about how to show proper respect and reciprocal relations to tribal nations and communities. 

That’s the sentiment and wisdom shared by participants and attendees of the 2022 Doing Research in Indigenous Communities Conference held Dec. 16 at the Beus Center for Law and Society on Arizona State University’s Downtown Phoenix campus.

“Today’s conference really focuses on what does it mean to be a good relative as a researcher with and for Indigenous communities and thinking about our relationships with one another,” said Bryan McKinley Jones Brayboy, President’s Professor, university vice president of social advancement and director of the Center for Indian Education. “If we are in a relationship with one another, it means we’re responsible to and for each other. It also means that whatever work we’re doing impacts tribal nations in favorable ways and preparing generations of researchers from those communities. ASU is a resource that can help these nations chart their own future.”

Now in its sixth year, the conference was co-hosted by the Office of American Indian Initiatives, the College of Health Solutions, Knowledge Enterprise and the Arizona Biomedical Research Centre in the Arizona Department of Health Services. It featured approximately 400 scholars, researchers, staff, fellows, students and community members making an impact in Indigenous communities in the fields of history, law, health care, language, preservation, art, molecular science, sustainability research methodologies and higher education experiences.

The one-day event featured in-person and Zoom panels, networking opportunities, breakout sessions and a poster gallery. Topics included Indigenous genomics, research, advocacy, threats to tribal sovereignty, addressing missing and murdered Indigenous peoples, and creating pathways for future Native American academics.

“It’s hard to rank which topic is more important than the other because they’re all important,” said ASU’s Jacob Moore, associate vice president of tribal relations. “Knowing, being and doing in terms of Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous science is equal to, or perhaps even greater, than Western science.”

But the science and research must be respectful of the tribal nations and understand their needs above all else, said Krystal Tsosie, a presidential postdoctoral fellow from the Navajo Nation who will become an assistant professor with the Center for Biology of Society on Jan. 1, 2023. On that date, she will become ASU’s first-ever Indigenous geneticist.

“Usually, non-Indigenous researchers come to tribal communities with their own research agendas, questions and interests and we have to flip that back around to make sure it’s the tribes who are driving the research and the questions,” said Tsosie, who is leading a scoping review of paleogenomics studies with a team of researchers at ASU’s School of Life Sciences. Their goal is to assess the breadth and scale of community-engaged approaches in DNA research involving Indigenous ancestors.

“This type of study starts from the ground up and requires getting buy-in from tribal partners and building trust with communities so that they are engaged,” Tsosie said.

It's a practice that’s inherent in Kate Fox’s work and research. As professor and director of the Research on Violent Victimization Lab, which was established in January 2020 through a generous ASU Women and Philanthropy grant, Fox and her student-led team must tread lightly while being diligent in the pursuit of justice.

“There are many barriers in why numbers of missing Native American peoples go unreported,” said Fox, who was a guest speaker on the “Bridging Research, Advocacy and Policy to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples” panel. “Trust in law enforcement, trust in victim advocacy, trust that something will be done about the case and that it will be taken seriously … it’s all connected to historical trauma and colonization.”

Fox said her team members, almost half of whom are Native American, do a lot of listening instead of talking to earn trust in the tribal communities where they conduct their research.

“We listen to the experts, which are Indigenous people because they are used to research in many, many different capacities,” said Fox, whose research unit is housed in ASU’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. “It has to be Indigenous-led so that researchers can come in, help, connect and collaborate to help solve a collective problem. Data needs to be collected with Indigenous peoples, not on Indigenous peoples. We are very much dedicated to this in perpetuity.”

Reaching out to tribal nations also means pulling up the next generation of Indigenous scholars not only to continue their work but maintain respectful research methodology.

Angela Gonzales, a member of the Hopi tribe and an associate professor in ASU’s School of Social Transformation, is the co-principal investigator of a $750,000, three-year grant to train rising Indigenous researchers. Supported by Genetech, a member of the Roche Group, the Indigenous Health Equity Initiative is one of 30 groundbreaking projects selected for the 2022 Genetech Innovation Fund

“Our goal with this grant is to develop gold-standard policies and practices that support tribal sovereignty and promote institutional transformation grounded in respectful, reciprocal and equitable research partnerships between universities and Native communities ... to use so that they too can engage in respectful and reciprocal practices,” said Gonzales, who co-leads the grant with Nate Wade, executive director for strategic initiatives and innovation, and an assistant research professor in the College of Health Solutions, with support from Jacob Moore.

Moore heads up the ASU-Berkeley Lab STEM Pathways Program, which provides travel, a stipend and housing costs for Indigenous undergraduates interested in obtaining a PhD in STEM.

“The idea is to find matching pairs of researchers and students with an interest in STEM and provide a pipeline for them,” said Moore, a chemist from the Powhatan Pamunkey tribe in Virginia. “We want to get them excited about a career in STEM, which is vast and could include science, technology, engineering, mathematics and even architecture.”

Colin Ben’s research has also contributed to helping Indigenous students become more successful in academia. As an assistant research professor in the School of Social Transformation, Ben (Navajo) and Jessica Solyom, also an assistant research professor in the school, recently submitted a chapter titled “How Unique Ways of Knowing, Being and Learning Contribute to Persistence Factors Among Underrepresented Students” to editors David J. Nyguyen and Christina W. Yao for their 2022 publication “A Handbook for Supporting Today’s Graduate Students."

“The chapter draws on my previous research on the decision-making factors that led Navajo students to want to pursue doctoral education,” said Ben, who is also the associate director of the Center for Indian Education. “ASU is truly leading the way in graduating and investing in and meeting the needs of our Indigenous students who are living and working within their tribal communities.

"And that's what makes working at ASU so exciting."

Top photo: Associate Professor of law Trevor Reed speaks during a panel discussion on “Threats to Tribal Sovereignty” at the Armstrong Great Hall inside the Beus Center for Law and Society on ASU's Downtown Phoenix campus on Dec. 16. Photo by Samantha Chow/Arizona State University

Reporter , ASU News