Known as the “Mayor of Silicon Valley,’’ Robert Noyce is famous for founding Intel Corp. But one of his most enduring legacies is the Semiconductor Research Corp., the non-profit corporation he and several other technology industry heavyweights created in 1982 to help the United States regain a competitive edge in the integrated circuit industry.
The Japanese had made huge gains in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and the SRC was an effort to marshal the vast resources of the industry and U.S. universities, and combine those deep resources to push the technology industry forward.
Noyce, who died in 1990, would have been proud at the collaborative spirit the non-profit engendered. The SRC has been precisely what he and other leaders of the Semiconductor Industry Association envisioned.
The semiconductor industry, acknowledging the spiraling costs of maintaining company research labs, sought to foster a research incubator. And in the decades since its creation, the consortium has become a world leader in developing new semiconductor technologies.
The consortium has been successful not only in defining the trends and the needs of the industry, it has also groomed a generation of scientists well-versed in emerging technology.
By Bob Warren