sectors—to address complex, interdisciplinary challenges in nanoscale science and engineering, and will integrate research with education both internally and through a variety of partnership activities. Each center, whether based at a single institution or distributed across a number of institutions, must have an overarching research and education theme, well-integrated programs, and a coherent and effective management plan. The NSEC program centers as a whole will span the range from exploratory research—focused on discovery—to technology innovation and will involve a broad spectrum of disciplines such as engineering, mathematics and computer science, and the physical, biological, environmental, social and behavioral sciences. The scope of individual centers and the disciplines involved in them will vary.
Each NSEC award is in the range from about $1 million to $4 million per year for 5 years, depending on the scope of the work proposed. NSEC program centers will be eligible to compete for one 5-year renewal. Awards are made as cooperative agreements. Cost sharing at a level equal to 10 percent of the total amount requested from NSF is required. Centers may be based at a single U.S. academic institution or may consist of a lead institution in partnership with one or more partner institutions.
Another facility program in this category is SEMATECH. This group in Austin, Texas, provided a central location for semiconductor equipment manufacturers to develop and test their equipment while the process engineers who used the equipment were sent to SEMATECH from member companies. This arrangement was very successful, and the program did much to strengthen the U.S. position in equipment manufacturing. Funding for this organization was subsequently provided first by the U.S. semiconductor industry and later with international support. Generally, industry contributions have not established facilities for general use but have primarily supported single and groups of investigators. Now SEMATECH has spun off its fabrication and analysis facilities as the Advanced Technology Development Facility.