The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced that it is partnering with Google to manufacture semiconductor chips aimed at researchers and tech startups.

The chips will be manufactured by SkyWater Technology in Bloomington, Minnesota where google will be in charge of paying the initial cost of setting up the manufacturing, and will subsidize the first production run.

“By creating a new and affordable domestic supply of chips for research and development, this collaboration aims to unleash the innovative potential of researchers and startups across the nation,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Laurie E. Locascio.

“This is a great example of how government, industry and academic researchers can work together to enhance U.S. leadership in this critically important industry,” said Locascio

The chips being produced are also being produced in an open-source manner to reduce the costs of licensing as well as allow the full unrestricted usage of the chips.

“Google has a long history of leadership in open-source,” said Will Grannis, CEO of Google Public Sector. “Moving to an open-source framework fosters reproducibility, which helps researchers from public and private institutions iterate on each other’s work. It also democratizes innovation in nanotechnology and semiconductor research.”

The push for more American-made chips comes after many companies have in the past been highly reliant on foreign made chips that allegedly put many American companies at a disadvantage.

“As we saw during the pandemic, when the factories that make these chips shut down. The global economy comes to a halt,” said President Biden last week at the construction of a new semiconductor plant. “We need to make these chips right here in America to bring down everyday costs and create good jobs.”

Under the NIST-Google Partnership SkyWater Technology will produce 200-millimeter discs that will allow universities to splice the chips however they so choose to for their projects and research.

Some of the research partners that will be contributing to this venture includes the University of Michigan, the University of Maryland, George Washington University, Brown University and Carnegie Mellon University.

NIST said it will host an online workshop on September 20 and 21 on the use of chips for measurement science and prototyping, and to further explain the partnership with Google.

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Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.