Box J. International SEMATECH

Begun in 1995 to develop common technology for next generation of 300-mm wafers, SEMATECH evolved in 1999 into full international cooperation in non-competitive semiconductor manufacturing technology.27 International SEMATECH is today the world’s largest semiconductor research consortium. Member companies from the United States, Asia, and Europe are cooperating in key areas of semiconductor technology, sharing expenses and risk. It is important to note that the Japanese producers, with one Korean member, Samsung, have mounted a major but separate consortium called SELETE. Their common aim is to accelerate development of the advanced manufacturing technologies required to build the more powerful semiconductors necessary to sustain the exceptional growth of this industry.28

technologies. The vigorous competition for the benefits of high-technology industry is thus both complicated and complemented by the frequent need for cooperation to achieve common goals.

A cooperative approach to science and technology development is thus one of the hallmarks of the late twentieth century. Cooperation across national frontiers is expanding, aided by new communications technologies and motivated by the global nature of many scientific challenges. Within and among nations, cooperation between governments and industry is expanding to meet national goals and common technological challenges. Strategic alliances among businesses are also expanding dramatically, enabling firms to meet a variety of goals from shar-


The internationalization of SEMATECH, though it occurred after the end of U.S. government funding, was not without controversy. In the context of international trade, cooperation and competition are often the two sides of the same coin; the judgment to internationalize SEMATECH appears to have rested on the belief that cooperation in this instance would best serve the U.S. industry’s interests. See Thomas Howell, “Competing Programs, Government Support for Microelectronics,” in National Research Council, Securing the Future: Regional and National Programs to Support the Semiconductor Industry, op. cit., for a discussion of cooperative programs. For a discussion of the cooperative and competitive elements in such programs, see National Research Council, Conflict and Cooperation in National Competition for High-Technology Industry, op. cit.


International SEMATECH addresses areas essential to the continued progress of semiconductor science, including lithography, interconnect, front-end processes, advanced technology, manufacturing methods, and environment, safety, and health. International SEMATECH also provides important resources to the semiconductor industry, including coordinating global standards for 300-mm manufacturing; enhancing relationships between manufacturers and tool suppliers; and developing application-focused statistical training for the industry. For additional information on International SEMATECH, see <>.

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