The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), representing U.S. leadership in semiconductor manufacturing and design, today urged Congress to support investments in basic scientific research to sustain America’s economic strength, national security and global competitiveness. Testifying at a hearing of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Rich Templeton – chairman, president and CEO of Texas Instruments and member of the SIA board of directors – highlighted the semiconductor industry’s impressive record of investing in research and development, even during difficult economic times, and called on Congress to do the same.
“Federal funding of fundamental scientific research is critical to our nation’s continued competitiveness, economic growth and workforce development,” said Templeton. “It will shape our future. It will launch new industries, undergird our scientific and engineering infrastructure, produce our next Nobel Laureates, ensure the unparalleled academic excellence of our universities, and provide an economic future for the nation. It is not a switch that can be turned on and off.”
Funding for research at agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science has enabled some of the most revolutionary inventions of the last 60 years, including the Internet, the Global Positioning System (GPS), the laser, and the large-scale integrated circuit. The U.S. semiconductor industry has been a reliable partner to government and universities in driving American innovation, often matching federal R&D dollars for key research programs and investing a greater share of its revenue in R&D than any other industry ($27 billion in 2011).
Unfortunately, federal R&D investments are in jeopardy. Looming across-the-board budget cuts – known as the sequester – are set to reduce federal investments in R&D, which could have long-term negative implications on job creation and economic growth.
“As political leaders, you are facing some tough budget decisions in a challenging economic environment,” continued Templeton. “I urge you to approach this challenge in a smart, strategic way, allocating scarce funds in a way that gives us the best chance to create economic growth and security both now and in the future.”
The hearing, titled “American Competitiveness: The Role of Research and Development,” also featured testimony from Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Dr. Charles Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering. Templeton testified at the hearing on behalf of Texas Instruments, SIA and the Task Force on American Innovation (TFAI), an alliance of America's most innovative companies, leading research universities and largest scientific societies that aims to support scientific research in the physical sciences and engineering.