Columbia, Micron Technology, and Partners Meet in New York City to Discuss New Multi-Institutional Network

Northeast University Semiconductor Network is focused on collectively developing the next generation of the U.S. semiconductor industry’s workforce.

Apr 26 2023 | By Holly Evarts | Photo Credit: Timothy Lee Photographers/Columbia Engineering
Columbia University and Columbia Engineering leadership with partners

Leadership from Columbia University and Columbia Engineering with partners at the Apr. 17  Micron meeting held at Columbia Faculty House.

Columbia University held a meeting Apr. 17 with the founding New York City members of Micron Technology’s recently announced Northeast University Semiconductor Network, of which Columbia is a part. Focused on collectively developing the next generation of the U.S. semiconductor industry’s workforce, the network will drive foundational and emerging research to increase students’ opportunities for experiential learning across the semiconductor ecosystem.

New semiconductor network draws more than 20 universities in the Northeast

The network has brought together more than 20 universities across the Northeast region, selected for their strong collective undergraduate and graduate programs in engineering and other STEM degrees. Spanning seven states, they bring thousands of undergraduate and graduate STEM students, access to teaching labs and cleanrooms, and a strong foundation of collaboration across institutions. The initiative will bolster programs that connect universities to community colleges and non-traditional pathways with strong diversity programs to increase equitable access to STEM education.  

The Columbia team is led by University Provost Mary Boyce, Executive Vice President of Research Jeannette Wing, and Columbia Engineering Dean Shih-Fu Chang.

“The Northeast University Semiconductor Network aligns with Columbia's efforts to support and stimulate collaborative research in STEM through our innovative educational curriculum, outreach programs, and cleanroom, which provide the processing tools, instrumentation, technical expertise, and team-teaching environment to make this innovation happen," said Provost Boyce. "This hands-on approach to learning and collaboration with peer institutions will ensure that students are prepared to build, transform, and innovate within a next-generation semiconductor ecosystem."  

Inaugural meeting of NYC members held at Columbia

The inaugural meeting of the New York City members included leaders from Barnard, Cornell Tech, the City College of New York (CCNY), City University of New York (CUNY), Hofstra University, and New York University (NYU). Also attending, representing New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, was Elizabeth Lusskin, executive vice president of Empire State Development, Small Business and Technology Development. Micron held a similar meeting on April 10 with upstate New York members to announce the Northeast University Semiconductor Network. The network is part of Micron’s $100 billion, 20-year commitment to invest in semiconductor fabrication facilities in New York, aiming to leverage the incentives of the CHIPS and Science Act.

After introductions were made at the Apr. 17 meeting held at Columbia’s Faculty House, participants shared their interests to help advance the network. Dean Chang noted that Columbia Engineering has been heavily focused on the twin goals of advancing technology and developing a more diverse and capable STEM workforce. He spoke about the School’s highly diverse community with more than 50% of the incoming class made up of women, and more than 30% underrepresented minorities. He discussed the extensive record of collaboration within New York City and the region and cited several examples, including the recently awarded Center for Ubiquitous Connectivity, led by Charles Batchelor Professor of Electrical Engineering Keren Bergman, a pioneer in photonic interconnected computing, and another key collaborative center, the NSF COSMOS Platform for Advanced Wireless Research Center, led by Columbia, Rutgers, and NYU in partnership with New York City, Silicon Harlem, and the City College of New York.

Dean Chang added, “As a research and education institution, we are committed to developing 21st century engineers who make an impact on society. A big part of our growth will be expansion into Manhattanville, north of our main campus, with a new engineering building. We are excited to join Micron and our fellow university partners to advance semiconductor technology while building a more diverse STEM workforce, a key priority for all of us.”

Tour of Columbia’s cleanroom

After the meeting, participants, including Manish Bhatia, executive vice president of Global Operations at Micron, toured the cleanroom in Columbia’s Schapiro Center for Engineering and Physical Science Research.  Columbia's cleanroom supports multidisciplinary research and training across many academic departments and disciplines within the University and welcomes researchers from other academic institutions, government laboratories, and industrial organizations ranging from start-ups to large companies. 

During the tour, Columbia Engineering researchers, Sam Sia, vice provost for the Fourth Purpose and Strategic Impact and professor of biomedical engineering, and John Kymissis, chair of electrical engineering, discussed the Columbia/CUNY cleanroom partnership, which enables researchers and students across New York City to work collaboratively and share access to specialized equipment, and explored plans to expand such facilities through this partnership. Micron is particularly interested in collaborative, shared cleanroom facilities like Columbia’s, which will be a critical component to prepare a new generation of workers to fill the tens of thousands of new construction, manufacturing, and innovation jobs of the future.  

The meeting of the New York City members of Micron Technology’s Northeast University Semiconductor Network was a good start to an ongoing relationship to educate, train, and prepare New York City’s's and the nation's next-generation workforce for semiconductor industry jobs in an emerging sector.

The full list of founding partners of the Northeast University Semiconductor Network includes:

  • Brown University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Clarkson University
  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University (Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island)
  • Harvard University
  • Hofstra University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • New York University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Princeton University
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Syracuse University
  • The City University of New York System (CUNY)
  • The State University of New York System (SUNY)
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Rochester
  • University of Virginia
  • Virginia Tech

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