Speaking of Semiconductors

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

On November 16, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves met with UC Santa Barbara students and faculty, including College of Engineering interim dean and Alcoa Distinguished Professor of Materials, Tresa Pollock, to learn about cutting-edge semiconductor research and workforce training initiatives at the university.

The briefing included a presentation about the university's chip-fabrication capabilities and highlighted various initiatives, including a new two-week cleanroom training program aimed at students from nearby Santa Barbara City College. The visit also featured a tour of Goleta-based UCSB tech spinoff Transphorm, a global semiconductor company, as an example of a public-private partnership that is successfully transitioning technology developed at UCSB with U.S. government funding to commercialization and manufacturing.

At the wide-ranging roundtable discussion that followed the tour, participants from UCSB's faculty and student body, and from industry provided input and ideas for lowering the barriers to STEM education and supporting small businesses. They also discussed enabling innovation, collaboration between industry and universities, reaching out to populations that are underrepresented in the semiconductor industry, creating a sustainable manufacturing pipeline, and promoting worker and community investments. 

Secretary Graves visited the area as part of outreach for the 2022 CHIPS and Science Act, a bipartisan federal bill enacted to stimulate investment in semiconductor research and development, build the semiconductor manufacturing sector in the United States, and educate and train the workforce needed to propel the industry forward.

Tresa Pollock and others from UCSB meet with U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves.

Tresa Pollock (far right) and others from UCSB meet with U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves (far left). Photograph by Jeff Liang