University-Industry Engagement Week

During G-7 Summit, Micron launches U.S.-Japan semiconductor partnership involving 11 universities

By David Schwartz
Published: May 23rd, 2023

If you needed any proof that university-industry partnerships have become a major global trend, look no further than the G-7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan, where world leaders gathered to discuss the biggest issues affecting the world’s economies and global security.

Along with headlines about the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the U.S. debt ceiling, Micron Technology announced the launch of the U.S.-Japan University Partnership for Workforce Advancement and Research & Development in Semiconductors (UPWARDS) for the Future. Aimed at cultivating a highly skilled semiconductor workforce for the two countries, the partnership will drive emerging research while increasing the pipeline of students studying a semiconductor curriculum.

Signifying the import of the deal, U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Keiko Nagaoka presided over the MoU’s signing.

UPWARDS for the Future, established by Micron and other industry partners, brings together 11 universities from across the U.S. and Japan to develop leading semiconductor curricula. The founding universities are known for their high-quality education and proven commitment to closing the gender equity gap in STEM, a critical element in building the industry’s workforce of the future.

UPWARDS for the Future intends to establish new programs dedicated to attracting and retaining historically underrepresented groups to the field, in addition to supporting the efforts partner institutions have undertaken to date.

“Leading in next-generation technologies requires developing a next-generation workforce,” said Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Ambassador to Japan. “Semiconductors are critical to our economy and to our security, and the UPWARDS for the Future program will enable the United States and Japan, as allies and economic partners, to build that workforce.”

More than $60 million in contributions over the next five years from a variety of sources, including Micron and its partners, will go towards supporting the launch and implementation of this innovative program, which deepens ties between industry and higher education across the U.S. and Japan. The network, expected to impact approximately 5,000 students per year, will provide access to experiential learning in cleanrooms and memory-related research across institutions, with a particular focus on promoting opportunities for female students, staff and leaders.

Partner universities in the effort are Hiroshima University, Kyushu University, Nagoya University, Purdue, Boise State, RPI, RIT, Tohuku University, Tokyo Institute of Technology, University of Washington, and Virginia Tech.

“UPWARDS for the Future reflects Micron’s long-term commitment to strengthening the semiconductor ecosystems in the U.S. and Japan. Building and sustaining advanced memory semiconductor leadership requires a robust workforce from diverse backgrounds,” said Micron President and CEO Sanjay Mehrotra. “Micron is proud to be at the forefront of this once-in-a-generation opportunity to unite leading educational institutions and foster greater technology innovation.”

Added National Science Foundation Director Sethuraman Panchanathan, “Partnerships like these will help the U.S. and its allies keep pace with a changing global innovation landscape, and combined with NSF’s other recent investments in semiconductor research and workforce development, keep us in the vanguard of global competitiveness. The diversity of the science and engineering workforce on a global scale is not only the right thing to do, but also necessary, as global competition for talent is fierce and investing in a broad demographic of the population is the only way we can accelerate progress and tackle the global shortage of semiconductor workers.”

Over the past five years, Micron has increased its female workforce globally, and by 56% in Japan. In addition, more than 22% of the original patent applications Micron filed in fiscal year 2022 included a named woman inventor. The company has accumulated 53,000 patents over its lifetime and was granted over 3,000 patents in 2022 alone — an average of more than eight patent grants per day. Micron has invested over $13 billion in Japan since 2013 and employs more than 4,000 engineers and technicians across the country.

Source: GlobeNewswire

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week