BRIDG Selected as Semifinalist for Inaugural National Science Foundation Regional Innovation Engines Competition
The NeoCity Semiconductor Technology Accelerator proposal is one 34 semifinalists listed to encourage teaming, diversity and regional growth.
Kissimmee, Fla., June 15, 2023 – The U.S. National Science Foundation announced its list of semifinalists for the first-ever NSF Regional Innovation Engines (NSF Engines) competition, and the NeoCity Semiconductor Technology Accelerator proposal was one of 34 proposals selected to be led by BRIDG, a not-for-profit, public-private partnership specializing in advanced system integration and packaging based at NeoCity in Osceola County, Florida.
“We are excited to be selected as one of the semifinalists and the only microelectronic semiconductor manufacturing-focused engine,” stated Jim Vandevere, president of BRIDG. “The NSF grant would provide a conduit to the Central Florida community, establishing a workforce development program, training curriculum, and educational improvements that advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility to all citizens, uplifting our community like never before.”
Launched by NSF's new Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP) and authorized by the "CHIPS and Science Act," the NSF Engines program uniquely harnesses the nation's science and technology research and development enterprise and regional-level resources. NSF Engines aspire to catalyze robust partnerships to positively impact the economy within a geographic region, address societal challenges, advance national competitiveness, and create local, high-wage jobs across the country. Anticipated to be transformational for the nation, the competition spans nearly all key technology areas and societal and economic challenges highlighted in the "CHIPS and Science Act” to ensure that the U.S. remains globally competitive in key technology areas for decades to come.
"Each of these NSF Engines semifinalists represents an emerging hub of innovation and lends their talents and resources to form the fabric of NSF's vision to create opportunities everywhere and enable innovation anywhere," said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. "These teams will spring ideas, talent, pathways and resources to create vibrant innovation ecosystems all across our nation."
The proposal is joined by partners from Osceola County, Florida High Tech Corridor, imec, Orlando Economic Partnership, University of Central Florida, University of Florida, Valencia College, and CareerSource Central Florida.
“ICAMR dba BRIDG is proud of our partners and the collective effort to stand up an advanced packaging hub in NeoCity. We are focused on capitalizing on multiple fronts to provide the materials and tools supporting NeoCity’s ecosystem,” stated Vandevere.
“This is a testament to the power of partnerships and our region’s collaborative spirit,” said Tim Giuliani, president and CEO of the Orlando Economic Partnership. “It only happens through a decade-long collective effort by regional partners centered around a vision to transform the Orlando region’s innovation ecosystem and create a future where high wage jobs are accessible to everyone.”
“Imec is looking forward to helping build the NeoCity ecosystem with our deep knowledge in advanced 3D packaging and to upskilling the local workforce to fulfill future roles within the supply chain,” said Max Mirgoli, executive vice president of worldwide strategic partnerships at imec.
"Valencia College is a fully supportive partner in the NSF Engines program and we are excited to be among the semifinalists. Getting this award would be a significant investment in our community and the semiconductor initiative in NeoCity," said Joe Battista, vice president for workforce, career, and professional education at Valencia College.
“We are extremely proud that NSF selected our team as a finalist for the Regional Innovation Engines competition,” stated Dr. Grace Bochenek, director of School of Modeling, Simulation and Training at the University of Central Florida. “Our innovative team approach includes research and technology, industry, workforce, and economic development. The strength of our team provides us with a unique perspective and the history to engage government, academia, and industry to create a culture for experiential learning, producing the next generation workforce that embraces and advances new technologies and solves multidisciplinary problems. The University of Central Florida's approach to building digital twin technology as an integrated system of system will fuel the semiconductor testbed and other industries to drive outcomes that meet our nation's biggest challenges.”
"I envision advanced packaging, the theme of our engine project, rising from Central Florida but making a profound impact on the entire state of Florida, the Southeast, and the whole nation,” stated Dr. Y.K. Yoon, professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Florida. “With the unwavering dedication to innovation, the team is set to become a global leader in the field."
NSF is continuing to review proposals through their merit review process and anticipates announcing the final list of NSF Engines awards this fall with each awardee initially receiving about $15 million for the first two years. Each NSF Engine could receive up to $160 million over 10 years; actual amounts will be subject to a given NSF Engine's status and overall progress, as assessed annually. Semifinalists not selected to receive an NSF Engine award may be considered for an NSF Engine Development Award of up to $1 million over two years to help build their initial ecosystems, cultivate the necessary partnerships, and potentially compete for additional funding, including through future NSF Engines competitions.
“We sincerely hope to be able to work with NSF to grow our regional model together, sharing our learnings and results with other regions and manufacturing sectors to help rebuild our nation’s manufacturing industrial base,” stated Vandevere.
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BRIDG is a not-for-profit, public-private partnership specializing in digital, RF, and photonics interposer technology development coupled with advanced packaging capabilities. As an ITAR-certified and DMEA trust-ready supplier, BRIDG offers R&D expertise and a 200mm microelectronics fabrication facility geared toward system miniaturization, device integration, hardware security, and product manufacturing key to aerospace, defense, automotive, telecommunications, medical, and the IoT/AI revolution. Supported by Osceola County, Florida High Tech Corridor Council, imec, Orlando Economic Partnership, TEL, SUSS, Siemens, and SkyWater Technology (Center for NeoVation operator), BRIDG provides the physical infrastructure and collaborative process to connect challenges and opportunities with solutions; “Bridging the Innovation Development Gap” making commercialization possible. Located at NeoCity BRIDG is centrally located 20 minutes from Orlando International Airport and within a mile of Florida’s Turnpike. www.GoBRIDG.com
Following the impacts of the Great Recession, Osceola County decided to make a long-term investment to create a 500-acre technology district, known as NeoCity to diversify its economy. Since then, Osceola County, and their regional partners, have invested over $273 million to make NeoCity the hub to Central Florida’s burgeoning semiconductor industry. NeoCity’s anchor building, the Center for Neovation, (total of 109,000 sq. ft) consisting of a 36,000 square ft. cleanroom, is one of the most technologically advanced manufacturing research centers in the western hemisphere, home to SkyWater Technology, imec USA, BRIDG, TEL, and SUSS MicroTech. The Osceola County School District’s NeoCity Academy, located next to the Center for Neovation, works with SkyWater, BRIDG, and imec USA to provide internships for the high school students to work in the fab. www.NeoCityFL.com
About Osceola County
Osceola County is the third fastest growing county in the nation. We anticipate the future before it happens, forever pioneers when it comes to planning communities and economies that work. We are a diverse community of lifelong residents and recent transplants, third-generation immigrants and new arrivals – all who flourish here because Osceola County brings you closer to what’s most important. Residents have the opportunity to lead a full life alongside people who share your aspirations for the future. We excel at turning the most ambitious ideas into reality. People here aren’t just hardworking. They are innovative, visionary, and entrepreneurial; they are the free-flowing energy that powers every industry in Central Florida. Our legacy is leading Central Florida by example – you can always count on Osceola to put you in the right place at the right time, so you can be first to what’s next. www.osceola.org
About CareerSource Central Florida
CareerSource Central Florida (CSCF) is Florida’s second largest regional workforce board that is state and federally funded with an annual operating budget of approximately $45 million. CSCF provides comprehensive services to connect career seekers and local businesses at no cost. Services include screening and hiring talent; employee training and education; paid internships and no cost skills training and education programs. In fiscal year 2021-2022, CSCF has served more than 39,500 career seekers and 3,500 businesses. The organization has placed more than 5,600 individuals in jobs and helped advance skills for more than 2,500 career seekers across Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake and Sumter Counties. For more information, visit www.CareerSourceCentralFlorida.com.
About the Florida High Tech Corridor
An economic development initiative of three research universities—the University of Central Florida, the University of South Florida, and the University of Florida—the Florida High Tech Corridor converges and catalyzes the capacity of high tech, innovative, and bright minds across a 23-county region to generate a global ripple effect that advances the lives of people in the communities it serves. Powered by an ethos of collaboration, The Corridor aligns opportunities and resources in academia, industry, and economic development to unleash the region’s expotential. floridahightech.com
Imec is a world-leading research and innovation center in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. Imec leverages its state- of-the-art R&D infrastructure and its team of more than 5,500 employees and top researchers for R&D in advanced semiconductor and system scaling, silicon photonics, artificial intelligence, beyond 5G communications and sensing technologies, and in application domains such as health and life sciences, mobility, industry 4.0, agrofood, smart cities, sustainable energy, education, and others. Imec unites world-industry leaders across the semiconductor value chain, international tech, pharma, medical and ICT companies, start-ups, and academia and knowledge centers. Imec is headquartered in Leuven (Belgium), and has research sites across Belgium, the Netherlands, and the USA, and representation in three continents. In 2022, imec's revenue (P&L) totaled 846 million euro.
About Orlando Economic Partnership
The Orlando Economic Partnership (the Partnership) is the Orlando region’s economic and community development organization that is seizing the moment to advance Broad-based Prosperity® by growing the diversity of the economy and driving investment into the region. The Partnership catalyzes the collaborative spirit of the region to fuel regional leadership and improve the region’s competitiveness. For more information on how Orlando is Unbelievably Real, visit InvestOrlando.org.
About University of Central Florida School of Modeling, Simulation, and Training (SMST)
The University of Central Florida School of Modeling, Simulation, and Training (SMST) is renowned for its prestigious graduate program and innovative research. It operates leading, internationally recognized research facilities dedicated to advancing modeling and simulation (M&S) and providing learning opportunities for students. The school has been at the forefront of M&S research for over 40 years, and, in 2018, established one of the first M.S. and Ph.D. programs in M&S. Through its research institute, SMST is exploring the most advanced M&S research concepts in the world for government and commercial applications: digital engineering; computer modeling; virtual, augmented, and mixed reality; behavioral cyber security; intelligent tutoring; human factors; cognition; artificial intelligence; and digital twin. www.ucf.edu/modeling-simulation
About University of Florida ECE
The Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department at the University of Florida has a long and storied history. Since 1909, we have been engineering impact and innovation while creating the best workforce in electrical and computer engineering for the state of Florida and for the nation. Our research, discoveries, and the resulting technologies continue to touch lives everywhere enhancing the economic and social well-being of all Floridians and citizens of the world in innumerable and impactful ways. Since our beginnings, we have grown into one of the largest and most successful departments in the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering (HWCOE). www.ece.ufl.edu
About Valencia College
Serving nearly 70,000 students at 10 campuses and training centers across Central Florida, Valencia College is recognized as one of the top community colleges in the nation. The college offers a variety of associate and bachelor’s degrees and short- term, job training programs, with industry leading rates of graduation, transfer and job placement, as recognized by the Aspen Institute, Achieving the Dream and other national organizations. www.valenciacollege.edu