Austin Gives Big Welcome To Sematech

Sematech has found a home and it’s a homerun for Texas." Texas Gov. Bill Clements was reacting to the news that Austin, the state capital and home of the University of Texas, has been picked as the site for a $1.5 billion advanced semiconductor research facility. State officials expect the project to provide a scientific boost to their ailing economy by offering employment to thousands and attracting new electronics firms to the region. Texas beat out 11 other finalists from an original

Jan 25, 1988
Olga Anderson
Sematech has found a home and it’s a homerun for Texas."

Texas Gov. Bill Clements was reacting to the news that Austin, the state capital and home of the University of Texas, has been picked as the site for a $1.5 billion advanced semiconductor research facility. State officials expect the project to provide a scientific boost to their ailing economy by offering employment to thousands and attracting new electronics firms to the region. Texas beat out 11 other finalists from an original list of 34 states, for the opportunity to help the struggling U.S. semiconductor industry combat the Japanese onslaught in microelectronics. Sematech is a consortium of 14 semiconductor manufacturing giants formed last May that expect to share the re- sults of cooperative research on advanced manufacturing techniques (see THE SCIENTIST November 2, 1987, p. 5).

A 45-person start-up team will move early next month into a 300,000-square-foot plant formerly owned by Data General Corp., according to Linda Baker, vice president for communications at the National Semiconductor Corp.; whose executives led the push to create Sematach. Total employment is expected to reach 800, she said, with member companies contributing 300 workers and the rest to be recruited by a chief executive officer expected to be appointed shortly.

But Texas officials expect the project to generate more than 2,000 additional jobs for researchers, technicians and support personnel. Hans Marks, chancellor of the University of Texas, predicted that a close relationship will grow up between his university, Sematech and the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corp. (MCC), an industry consortium begun in 1983 and located in Austin.

"An advanced manufacturing facility of this kind will clearly be important to our electrical engineering department and our electrical chemistry department,” said Marks. “MCC is mostly software-oriented, and Sematech is mostly hardware-oriented, and the combination will make this town a major center for the development of new technologies for the electronics industry.”

Seamtech officials also announced a competition for univer-sity-based Centers of Excellence in a variety of disciplines. Each of the other finalists—Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon and Wisconsin—will receive $50,000 to prepare detailed proposals to become one of a half dozen or so cen- ters.

James Maindl, provost ot Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, said that the centers’ project is a way to increase the payoff from Sematech, which last month was given the first of what it hopes will be a series of five $100 million federal appropriations. “If they can somehow retain some of the momentum [from the competition for a site] with the centers of excellence, they’ll be that much better off in the long run.”

Anderson is editor and publisher of Technology NY in Troy, N.Y


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(The Scientist, Vol:2, #2, p.7, January 25, 1988)
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