Baker Institute Scholar to AMTP: “Materials First!”

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A prominent energy and minerals scholar believes the United States must quickly come to terms with a foundational risk to the sustainability of its high technology supply chains and innovations, telling members of the American Technology Partnership (AMTP) to continue spotlighting underlying materials and component vulnerabilities.

“’Put materials first!’ should be your battle cry,” Rice University’s Michelle Michot Foss told AMTP members at last week’s inaugural meeting of the coalition.

“To give you a sense of the importance of various fabrication minerals and commodities, just look at how much nickel prices are already spiking” in response to war-related global market turmoil, said Foss, an energy and minerals fellow at Rice’s Baker Institute Center for Energy Studies, who was a featured speaker at the initial virtual meeting of the companies and universities comprising AMTP.

AMTP was launched within the last year to bring together the top voices in U.S. microelectronics and reinforce the future of first-rate, made-in-America materials. With a focus on forward-thinking designs, the coalition is intended to help maintain and bolster a strategic U.S. advantage when it comes to technology innovations.

“We are seeing semiconductor manufacturers that are trying to address a current chip shortage by announcing new domestic fabs (fabrication plants), but how can they secure their financing and funding commitments if they can’t also get materials support?” Foss asked.

The group also heard from AMTP Executive Director Dan Brewer, executive vice president at Missouri-based founding member Brewer Science, who emphasized the coalition’s three-prong mission.

“AMTP was established to serve as a public voice for the providers of technology materials, to collaborate with experts on the challenges facing our international and domestic supply chains, and to secure policies and funding necessary to ensure that the U.S. can successfully address these challenges and vulnerabilities.”

AMTP believes U.S. microelectronics are imperative to national security, advanced technology competitiveness and job creation. The high-quality materials utilized in microelectronics play a critical role in crafting and shaping technological advancements. These raw materials are the building blocks behind all facets of modern-day technology. They are fundamental to advancements in energy, artificial intelligence, water, automated vehicles, cloud computing and other areas of modern life.

“There is no doubt that the cost to address these vulnerabilities will be difficult – from labor, to sourcing, to transportation, to ongoing inflationary impacts – but they must be weighed within a broader context and risks of not addressing them,” Foss said.

Brewer echoed those sentiments and the need for a “thriving materials eco-system.”

“It behooves us to make sure that this eco-system is healthy and successful, to ensure a sustainable domestic supply chain for semiconductors and other microelectronics that will remain at the heart of a thriving U.S. economy, as well,” he said.

About AMTP

Founded by Brewer Science, an international leader in the microelectronics industry, the American Materials Technology Partnership is a driving force behind materials innovation. With a focus on first-rate, American-made materials, the coalition’s call to bolster, develop and innovate will help the United States secure its strategic advantage in the industry.


Claire Fonteno

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