Federal Research:

SEMATECH's Technological Progress and Proposed R&D Program

RCED-92-223BR: Published: Jul 16, 1992. Publicly Released: Aug 17, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed a government-industry research and development consortium, focusing on: (1) the consortium's progress in achieving its technological objectives; (2) the views of the Department of Defense and the consortium's member companies about continued federal funding for the consortium after fiscal year (FY) 1992; and (3) the consortium's expenditures during its first 5 years and its proposed budget after 1992.

GAO found that: (1) the consortium appears to be on schedule for achieving its objective of demonstrating the capability to manufacture state-of-the-art semiconductors using only U.S. equipment by the end of 1992; (2) this capability will enable the U.S. semiconductor industry to reach parity with its Japanese competition, but not to surpass the Japanese industry in terms of superconductor manufacturing equipment capability; (3) the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) plans to phase out funding for the consortium and spend $80 million annually to support semiconductor manufacturing research and development; (4) the consortium's members cited the importance of continued federal support to improve the competitive position of the U.S. semiconductor industry; and (5) DARPA and member companies believe that consortium programs to develop computer-integrated manufacturing and flexible manufacturing will yield a high return on investment by enabling semiconductor manufacturers to respond effectively to customers' needs.

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