SEMATECH began, in 1987 and 1988, there was a strong belief that the founders of the consortium were primarily trying to renew semiconductor memory capability in the United States. That was not the explicit goal, said Dr. Spencer, but even so, the consortium was able to make major changes within 2 years of it’s start, which resulted in contributions to the health of the industry as a whole. He added that the consortium quickly found that it needed a clear roadmap of where it was going, a practice that has been adopted over the last 10 years, not only by the semiconductor industry but now by many other organizations.

A third lesson was that a partnership needs to be led by the very best people in the industry. In the case of SEMATECH, he said, that was true “from the top of the company down to the people who worked in the consortium. Quality leadership and quality people participating is a rule that needs to be followed.”

He then borrowed a mathematical expression to say that these conditions were necessary but not sufficient to bring positive change. “I don’t know of a close set of sufficient conditions we could write down,” he said, “that would ensure that a partnership will succeed.” These lessons need to be followed, he said, but doing so does not guarantee success.

He closed by praising the commitment and capacity of the steering committee, which he described as “extraordinary even by NRC standards,” and the staff, noting that the present workshop would be the last of this particular series of meetings on government-industry partnerships.

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