The administration of US President Joe Biden earmarked $285 million to establish an institute designed to spur research and development across the semiconductor industry by using digital twins.

It is seeking proposals from eligible applicants, which Bloomberg reported are limited to institutions that are incorporated and have their principal place of business in the US.

Funding for the CHIPS Manufacturing USA institute is part of the 2022 CHIPS and Science Act that includes $11 billion for semiconductor research and development, as the US seeks to better compete against China and address an ongoing global semiconductor shortage.

The CHIPS act calls for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to invest in research and development around chip manufacturing, and to establish a programme to match state and local government incentives offered to private companies to build production facilities.

The administration stated funding will be used for “the development, validation, and use of digital twins for semiconductor manufacturing, advanced packaging, assembly, and test processes”.

A digital twin is the generation or collection of digital data representing a physical object. Most digital twins use a combination of AI and ML, sensor data and real-time 3D to generate a digital simulation of any physical entity.

The administration explained digital twins can exist in the cloud, which enables collaborative design and process development by engineers and researchers located across the country while reducing the cost of R&D.

“Digital twin technology will help transform the semiconductor industry,” stated NIST Director Laurie E. Locascio.

US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo noted the institute “will also help train the next generation of American workers and researchers to use digital twins for future advances in R&D and production of chips”.