Wright State University is a key participant in two of eight grants awarded to Ohio colleges and universities by the Intel Corporation, which is building two chip factories near Columbus.
The grants are part of a coordinated effort to address the research and workforce needs of the growing semiconductor and microelectronic industries in Ohio.
Through the grant projects, Wright State will collaborate with other regional universities to develop new curriculum and experiential learning opportunities to prepare students for careers in semiconductor manufacturing.
Wright State will collaborate with Central State University to help it build a semiconductor educational program and a microelectronics lab and provide experiential learning opportunities for students.
Wright State is also one of four leadership universities in an alliance of higher education institutions in Southwest Ohio that seeks to build a world-class knowledge base and workforce training ecosystem for the semiconductor industry. The alliance is led by the University of Cincinnati, which secured a grant from Intel to support the project.
Both projects include faculty and students from across Wright State, including the departments of Biomedical, Industrial and Human Factors Engineering; Chemistry; Computer Science and Engineering; Electrical Engineering; Information Systems and Supply Chain Management; Mechanical and Materials Engineering; and Physics.
“Wright State is excited to be an active participant in both grant projects to help build the curriculum and create the workforce training programs needed to support Intel. We are strongly positioned with several of our programs aligned currently with Intel’s workforce development needs,” said Subhashini Ganapathy, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical, Industrial and Human Factors Engineering and chair of Wright State’s Intel Initiative.
Ivan Medvedev, Ph.D., associate professor and interim chair of the Department of Physics, said the grants align perfectly with the physics program’s educational and research objectives.
The Department of Physics operates the university’s state-of-the-art cleanroom and offers a senior and graduate-level course in microfabrication that fits the objectives of both grants’ workforce development component of the grants, Medvedev said.
“The grants will provide us with resources needed to finetune our curriculum to meet the needs of Ohio’s growing semiconductor industry,” he said.
The goal of the Central State project is to develop a minor degree program in computer hardware technology and a certificate program in semiconductor processing and establish a microfabrication lab to provide experiential learning opportunities for underrepresented undergraduate STEM students.
The project provides Wright State, which operates its own microelectronics lab in addition to its cleanroom facility, an opportunity to review its training processes and help position the university as a regional leader in designing training programs, Ganapathy said.
The grant also includes funding to support Wright State graduate students who will help develop and teach the new curriculum, establish the microfabrication lab and participate in the training program.
Amir Zadeh, Ph.D., associate professor of information systems and supply chain management, will help develop an enterprise resource planning curriculum to introduce students to material, production and storage planning and inventory management.
Fathi Amsaad, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer science, who is participating in both grant projects, said the effort could lead to further research and educational opportunities between Central State and Wright State. It is also an opportunity to introduce Central State to Wright State’s graduate programs, Amsaad said.
Saiyu Ren, Ph.D., professor of electrical engineering, will assist Central State in the development of curriculum in semiconductor devices, microelectronic process technology, fabrication and testing. Ren has played a key role in the microelectronic circuit design course sequence offered by Wright State’s Department of Electrical Engineering.
Institutions in the Ohio-southwest Alliance on Semiconductors and Integrated Scalable-Manufacturing (OASiS) will offer short certification courses on semiconductor manufacturing, training students and faculty in semiconductor equipment and processes, cleanroom operations, safety protocols and other professional skills.
Students who participate in the OASiS courses will be well-positioned to intern at Intel, Ganapathy said.
OASiS members will also make it easier for students to register for courses at other colleges or universities in the alliance through SOCHE.
Wright State’s participation in these grant projects is just one aspect of the university’s efforts to support Intel and the semiconductor and microelectronic industries.
Wright State helped launch the Midwest Regional Network to Address National Needs in Semiconductor and Microelectronics, which seeks to address the research and workforce needs of the semiconductor and microelectronics industries in Ohio and help address national efforts to promote U.S. leadership in semiconductors and microelectronics.