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Semiconductor research partners in Japan host Boise State faculty and staff visit

group photo in front of wall with decals
Chad Watson, Lan Li, Nancy Glenn and Dan Lamborne visit colleagues at Hiroshima University

In April 2024, Boise State faculty and research staff members arrived in Japan just in time to experience both blooming cherry blossoms and snowfall. They visited five universities and industry members of the pioneering University Partnership for Workforce Advancement and Research and Development in Semiconductors (UPWARDS) for the Future program.

The UPWARDS partnership was launched in 2023 by Micron Technology, Inc. to empower collaboration between industry and higher education across Japan and the U.S., and cultivate a highly skilled workforce in the semiconductor and STEM. Funding from Micron, Tokyo Electron Limited (TEL) and the National Science Foundation support the program.

Boise State is one of 11 institutes of higher education involved in UPWARDS. This visit to meet with other program partners was an important opportunity to collaborate on burgeoning semiconductor opportunities, such as Boise State’s Semiconductor for All program and computational modeling research.

Boise State Vice President for Research and Economic Development Nancy Glenn; Director of Research Development Chad Watson; Associate Professor of Material Science and Engineering Lan (Samantha) Li; and Executive Director for the Institute for Microelectronics Education and Research (MER) Dan Lamborn represented the university.

During their visit, Boise State members attended special tours of UPWARDS partner universities, namely Tohoku University, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Nagoya University, Kyushu University and Hiroshima University. The group also visited industry partner sites, Micron and TEL, as well as Intel. Though not an UPWARDS member, Intel is an important partner with Boise State on a National Science Foundation-supported semiconductor project led by Oregon State.

Two persons look at a research presentation board
Day 6: Professor Lan Li engages in a research presentation at Kyushu University

“The incredible talent and facilities at our Japanese partner universities, coupled with Boise State’s unique offerings and proximity to Micron and growing partnership with TEL, will allow our students to receive world-class education and research experiences. The opportunities are limitless.” said Glenn.

Lab and facilities tours were punctuated with important discussions about how to advance partnership components, such as: identifying research projects that faculty and students from Boise State and Japan universities can collaborate on; identifying opportunities for shared curriculum at the K-12, undergraduate, and graduate levels; and creating semiconductor-related internship opportunities via exchanges at universities and industry.

“Our UPWARDS partners were incredibly generous with their time, highlighting their semiconductor-related research, facilities, and workforce development needs. Through this engagement, we had the opportunity to learn, share and make new connections, paving the way for enduring collaborations,” said Watson.

group photo of 11 people
Day 6: Visit to Kyushu University. Kyushu sent undergraduate students to Boise State in early March for 10 days.

This visit to Japan’s UPWARDS partner universities builds on Boise State’s monumental presence at the 2023 Group of Seven (G7) Summit. At the summit, President Dr. Marlene Tromp represented the university in Hiroshima, Japan as it joined the selective network of universities that are shaping the semiconductor industry of the future.

Watch on YouTube: Semiconductors at Boise State