On February 28, the Department of Commerce (DOC) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released important information on the implementation of the CHIPS Act, including the first of three notices of funding opportunities. The CHIPS Act, signed into law on August 9, 2022, aims to grow domestic research and manufacturing of semiconductors domestically.
The first Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) is for mature node fabrication facilities. The other two NOFOs are expected to be announced in the spring and fall of 2023 and will be directed at material suppliers/equipment manufacturers and semiconductor R&D facilities. The CHIPS Programs Office (CPO) will prioritize applications from companies that have already attracted large private capital investments. The funding will be distributed through either direct funding, loans, or loan guarantees. Direct funding has up to $38.2B available, while the other two loan avenues combine for another $75B.
The application process consists of five steps:
- Statement of interest (open to all) – Helps the CPO gauge interest in the program and the types of projects and applicants applying
- Pre-application (optional) – Creates opportunity for dialogue between CPO and potential applicant to ensure applicant meets all necessary requirements
- Full application – Necessary to officially be considered for a CHIPS Incentive Award
- Due Diligence – Only entered with promising applicants. The CPO will engage outside advisors to review relevant financial information of applicant (at expense of applicant)
- Award Preparation – Disbursements of funds will be determined based on project milestones
Although the pre-application process is optional, it is highly recommended because of the critical feedback it provides as applicants prepare for the full application step. It is important to note that the statement of interest must be filed at least 21 days before the pre-application submission. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, so timing is important if your business is looking to apply. To begin the application process, please follow this link.
If you have any questions or concerns about this notice of funding from the DOC, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Director of Public Policy, Jake Mayson at firstname.lastname@example.org.