Learning Best Practices from SEMATECH

Given the worldwide emulation of SEMATECH, many speakers at the workshop referred to the SEMATECH experience.47 In his workshop presentation Bill Spencer, Chairman Emeritus of SEMATECH, listed some of the main lessons for a successful consortium based on SEMATECH’s experience.48

  • Ensure quality leadership, including key leaders of the major participating industries.

  • Convey your message publicly to leaders in the government and private sector.

  • Focus the program on key sectors and build on this developed strength, rather than approach the entire industry.

  • Set measurable objectives for advancing generic or pre-competitive knowledge.

  • Set uniform requirements of participation so that support is not fragmented.

  • Plan first, spend later: Roadmaps are needed before consortia can be properly launched.49

More recently, important collaborative work among national laboratories and universities has emerged in the printing of computer chips using extreme ultraviolet lithography.50 The lesson of this and other public-private collaborations is that any future consortium for solid-state lighting must be an industry-driven process. The great range of R&D needs (from basic science to manufacturing infrastructure to whole new industries) are arguably best understood by the industry in close cooperation with universities and government research laboratories.


To be sure, some specifics relating to the circumstances faced by firms in the semiconductor industry at the time of SEMATECH’s birth differ from the realities faced by firms in the optoelectronics industry. As noted in the Proceedings of this report, for example, firms in the semiconductor industry had the advantage of a much clearer research path than that being confronted by actors in the solid-state lighting industry today. There are, however, broader lessons to take from SEMATECH’s experience.


For discussion of current national and regional consortia in the semiconductor industry, see National Research Council, Regional and National Programs to Support the Semiconductor Industry, C. Wessner, ed., Washington D.C.: National Academy Press, forthcoming.


A key task for the leadership of any prospective partnership in solid-state lighting would be to develop and prioritize action items. The specific goals related to this task are normally best developed in the context of an industry technology roadmap.


This initiative, initially formed by three national laboratories and six private firms, was joined in March 2001 by a seventh firm, IBM.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement