The White House’s $39 billion chip-making giveaway starts today

Applications for the program's first funding opportunities will be accepted starting on March 31st.

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When President Joe Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act into law in 2022, it put $52 billion in tax credits and funding on the table to help bolster the semiconductor industry in the US, with $39 billion specifically earmarked for semiconductor manufacturing incentives. Now, we're starting to see how that initiative is going to play out: The Biden Administration has officially launched the first CHIPS for America funding opportunity, laying out the application process for "projects to construct, expand or modernize commercial facilities for the production of leading-edge, current-generation and mature-node semiconductors."

The "first" in first funding opportunity is the key word here: At the start, CHIPS for America is specifically looking to fund projects that align with the program's "vision for success" that seeks to have a number of leading-edge logic fabrication facilities and DRAM chip manufacturers by the end of the decade, as well as hitting specific production capacity goals for "current-generation and mature-node" semiconductors. The program plans to offer more funding opportunities for R&D and manufacturing equipment facilities at a later date. Applications for those programs won't launch until late Spring and Fall of 2023, but the CHIPS Program Office is open to receiving statements of interest from hopeful applicants.

The program also includes strict guardrails for how funding is used. Applicants who are awarded CHIPS funding will be prohibited from using the payments for stock buybacks or to pay out dividends, and payments will be tied to meeting specific milestones. It'll be awhile before the first recipients of CHIPS funding are announced, but hopeful projects can begin submitting applications on March 31, 2023. Want all the details? Check out the full CHIPS for America announcement right here.