Thursday, February 22, 2024

Wolfspeed, A&T to Establish Joint R&D Facility to Further Advance Silicon Carbide Innovation

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DURHAM, N.C. – Wolfspeed, Inc. (NYSE: WOLF), the global leader in Silicon Carbide technology, and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, America’s leading historically Black college or university, today announced their intent to apply for CHIPS and Science Act funding to build a new research and development facility on the North Carolina A&T campus. The R&D facility will be focused on Silicon Carbide to support the next generation of advanced compound semiconductors. Wolfspeed and A&T intend to submit the project for federal investment as part of the CHIPS and Science Act when the Notice of Funding Opportunity for R&D facilities is released this fall.

“Wolfspeed has been working with North Carolina A&T to develop a workforce of the future, and we are excited to expand that partnership to develop the technology of the future,” said Gregg Lowe, President and CEO of Wolfspeed. “The R&D facility will enable the next generation of innovators to explore new processes, applications and breakthrough advancements to support the global transition from silicon to Silicon Carbide technology and achieve new levels of sustainability and energy efficiency across a variety of industries.”

The announcement was made at an event with President Joe Biden at Wolfspeed’s headquarters in Durham, North Carolina, and the R&D facility is intended to augment the company’s establishment of the John Palmour Manufacturing Center for Silicon Carbide, the world’s largest Silicon Carbide crystal growth facility, under construction in Siler City, North Carolina. Phase one construction is anticipated to be completed in 2024 and, combined with the company’s ongoing materials expansion at its Durham headquarters, will increase material production for Wolfspeed more than 10x and create 1,800 jobs. The facility will supply 200mm Silicon Carbide wafers to Wolfspeed’s Mohawk Valley Fab, which opened last year in New York as the world’s first, largest and only 200mm Silicon Carbide fabrication facility. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and A&T Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr., among others, were also in attendance at the event.

Biden noted A&T’s distinction as the No. 1 producer of Black engineering graduates in the nation and the university’s partnership with Wolfspeed to establish the new center.

“As one of the top three public research universities in North Carolina and the nation’s largest HBCU, we are keenly interested in the future of the semiconductor chip industry in our state,” said Martin. “As a research and education partner with Wolfspeed, we bring deep academic and scientific strengths in STEM disciplines to our collaboration, as well as the fact that we produce more Black engineers than any university in the nation. This new facility will integrate our research and development interests toward major economic and social impact, not just in this North Carolina, but globally. The possibilities are tremendously exciting.”

Wolfspeed has recognized A&T, one of the nation’s leading engineering institutions, as a critical component of the company’s talent development strategy. In 2020, Wolfspeed committed $4 million over five years to the HBCU, the single largest donation in the university’s history at the time, to create the Wolfspeed Endowed Scholars Program. In September 2022, the two entities announced a partnership to develop a comprehensive education and training curricula, including undergraduate and graduate credentials in Silicon Carbide semiconductor manufacturing, as well as training and career advancement programs for existing semiconductor manufacturing workers.

To further support Wolfspeed’s growing talent needs, the company is working with several schools within North Carolina’s robust community college system to develop the skills required for its advanced manufacturing needs. This includes apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship opportunities, customized training curricula, career and college promise pathways for high school students, and work-based learning programs.

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