Biden Administration Announces $5 Billion Commitment for Research and Development of Computer Chips

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The Biden administration announced Friday that it expects to commit $5 billion in a public-private consortium for research and development of computer chips.

The White House said this would advance President Joe Biden’s goals of driving research and development in the United States, which include cutting down on the time and cost of commercializing new technologies.

The development comes as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are gearing up for the global chips competition through a new partnership that would tap into what they say is one of America’s greatest strengths: diversity.

HBCU leaders and federal government officials convened to support research and development in advanced computer chips and diversify the semiconductor industry.

“It’s a moment for everyone to get in the boat and row in the same direction,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in her remarks at the HBCU CHIPS Network event, adding “[It] may be the first time in the United States’ history we make sure that the people who get these jobs look like America.”

The HBCU CHIPS Network, which is unaffiliated with commerce’ CHIPS for America under the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), held its convening of stakeholders and institutions at commerce’s headquarters in D.C. The event sparked an opportunity for Black schools to pool their resources together with help from Georgia Tech University.

Chip production, according to Morgan State University’s Willie E. May, is an “existential issue” for America. He believes it’s time to include African Americans in this movement.

HBCUs enroll nearly 10% of all Black undergraduates and promote the majority of Black engineers, and other scientific and technological professionals, according to United Negro College Fund and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. This comes as federal government data found HBCUs have been underfunded for decades and higher education.

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