Press Release

BRIDG-Led Coalition Secures $160 Million NSF Grant for NeoCity Innovation Hub

The recognition underscores NeoCity’s rise as a leader in microelectronic semiconductor manufacturing innovation. The BRIDG-led proposal is the only one focused exclusively on semiconductor and microelectronics research, development and manufacturing.

Osceola County, FL – The BRIDG-led coalition has clinched the NSF Engine award in the Regional Innovation Engines competition, as announced by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). This accolade comes with an initial funding injection of around $15 million for the first two years, potentially reaching $160 million over the next decade. 

The recognition underscores NeoCity’s rise as a leader in microelectronic semiconductor manufacturing innovation. Through collaboration with key partners from Osceola County, Florida High Tech Corridor, imec, Orlando Economic Partnership (OEP), University of Central Florida, University of Florida, Valencia College, and CareerSource Central Florida, BRIDG has played a pivotal role in advancing Central Florida’s innovation ecosystem. 

“This win represents a pivotal moment for our region’s efforts to become a national hub for semiconductor and microelectronics research, development, and manufacturing,” said Tim Giuliani, President and CEO of the Orlando Economic Partnership.

With over half a billion dollars in state and federal investments in the past year and a half alone, Osceola County’s NeoCity is on the verge of transitioning from what once was just an idea to an economic engine anchoring a critical industry cluster.

Tim Giuliani, President and CEO of the Orlando Economic Partnership
YouTube video

In the last 16 months, the region has secured an impressive half a billion dollars in state and federal investments dedicated to NeoCity and the semiconductor ecosystem. BRIDG, securing a $160 million NSF Engines award over a decade, aligns with Osceola County’s vision for an innovation district catalyzing inclusive growth and community impact. 

“As a not-for-profit focused on inclusive regional economic development around semiconductor advanced packaging of microelectronic systems, and as the first company to begin business operations in NeoCity, we are honored to lead the U.S. National Science Foundation NSF Engines: Central Florida Semiconductor Innovation Engine and are very thankful for and very proud of our partners in achieving this award,” said Dr. John Allgair, CTO and interim president for BRIDG, the lead organization for the award. 

We look forward to working closely with our partners in the years to come to foster and grow an inclusive regional semiconductor manufacturing, advanced packaging, and microelectronics systems industrial base together.

Dr. John Allgair,
CTO and interim President for BRIDG

The coalition spent over a year developing the proposal, culminating in a three-day, in-person site visit at NeoCity with the NSF in September. Key regional leaders and our Engine leadership team emphasized our region’s collaborative ethos, technological capabilities, and commitment to advancing Broad-based Prosperity® as unique qualifications for executing this transformative federal investment. 

Receiving a grant from the National Science Foundation is not just a financial endorsement; it is a key milestone that recognizes the innovative spirit and unwavering commitment to progress that defines Osceola County’s efforts at NeoCity.

Cheryl Grieb,
Osceola County Commission Chair

Grieb added that “this is just the latest testament to a future where innovation knows no bounds. It cements our path toward making Osceola County a hub for groundbreaking research, technological advancement, and workforce development.” 

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We are thrilled to see BRIDG receive this major investment from the National Science Foundation to continue their leadership in the semiconductor industry. In less than a decade, we’ve seen NeoCity right here in Osceola County grow into a major hub for these innovative technologies — creating opportunities for local high-paying jobs, partnerships with global leaders like South Korea, and the discovery of intelligence that will solidify the U.S. as leaders in 21st century technology. 

Congressman Darren Soto, FL-9

“I was proud to vote for the CHIPS and Science Act last Congress, which authorized the NSF Engines program. As the NSF begins disbursement of these funds, I look forward to working with our partners at BRIDG to ensure we are prioritizing key projects and moving towards our shared goals,” Soto added.

“We are grateful for this award and excited to be part of the NSF Central Florida Semiconductor Innovation Engine, which will leverage imec’s 40-year track record of world-class R&D expertise in advanced packaging and system integration to support the U.S. semiconductor industry and create new opportunities for cutting-edge innovation and collaboration,” stated Raj Jammy, president of imec U.S. Operations.

This NSF Engine award is a recognition of the strategic importance of NeoCity as a hub for cutting-edge, industry-relevant research and development and of the strong partnership between imec, BRIDG, and our esteemed academic partners, including the University of Florida, the University of Central Florida, Valencia College, and other key stakeholders in the region.

Raj Jammy, President of imec U.S. Operations

“We look forward to contributing to the success of this initiative and to the growth of a vibrant semiconductor ecosystem in Florida.”  

“We are excited that NSF selected our team for this award,” stated Dr. Grace Bochenek, director of School of Modeling, Simulation and Training at the University of Central Florida. “The University of Central Florida is committed to driving innovation and supporting the success of the nation’s semiconductor industry.”

There are multiple ongoing research and academic initiatives in the microelectronic semiconductor area at UCF, and university president, Alexander Cartwright established this area as one of six Presidential Initiatives identified for growth.

Dr. Grace Bochenek, Director of School of Modeling,
Simulation and Training at the University of Central Florida

“Ongoing semiconductor research at UCF is a very interdisciplinary with a focus in micro electromechanical systems and micro fabrication facilities that include semiconductor chip manufacturing as well as other areas. These efforts, along with our excellence in modeling, simulation, and digital twin technologies will accelerate that future,” Bochenek, said.

“This award is life-changing for residents in Osceola County and our region who will be able to learn and gain careers within the semiconductor industry,” says Pam Nabors, president & CEO of CareerSource Central Florida.

As the workforce partner, we are honored to work together with regional leaders to advance and diversify the semiconductor industry.

Pam Nabors,
President & CEO , CareerSource Central Florida

“This is exciting news that we are part of the 10 inaugural NSF regional engine program teams, the only Florida team and the only semiconductor-focusing team, directly responding to the national activities regarding the CHIPS and Science Act,” stated Dr. Y.K. Yoon, professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Florida.

We know that a significant portion of semiconductor manufacturing takes place overseas, resulting in pressing economic, environmental, and national security concerns. The semiconductor chip packaging industry is particularly inequitable, with only 2-3% of semiconductor packaging activities currently occurring within the United States. Our Florida team is proud to lead the changes in the important semiconductor packaging, manufacturing, and security.

Dr. Y.K. Yoon, Professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering, University of Florida

“We are committed to advancing the semiconductor industry in the United States and contributing to the nation’s economic growth and security.”

“Valencia College is honored to work with Osceola County and BRIDG to lead the way in workforce development to support semiconductor manufacturing in Central Florida. Today’s announcement is a monumental milestone in this effort,” stated Dr. Kathleen Plinske, president of Valencia College.  

Initiated by NSF’s Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships, the NSF Engines program aims to address technology areas and societal challenges through local partnerships.  

Semiconductors are foundational to key sectors like aerospace, defense, modeling, simulation, training, healthcare, optics, and photonics in our region. 

Winning one of the first-ever NSF Regional Innovation Engines awards is a transformational moment we will reflect on years from now as a turning point in the history of Florida’s high-tech economy.

Paul Sohl, Rear Adm. USN (ret),
Florida High Tech Corridor CEO

“This accomplishment validates our region’s innovation potential and spotlights a collaborative effort by many partners who set aside their own interests for a common goal: to propel our ecosystem and the communities we serve forward by cementing this region as a global hub for groundbreaking semiconductor research and technological innovation. Firing up this Engine is going to be awesome!” 

NeoCity, a meticulously planned 500-acre technology and innovation district, houses a semiconductor fabrication facility, over 100,000 square feet of Class A office space, and NeoCity Academy, a public STEM High School. The NSF Engines award complements the success of the $50.8 million awarded by the Build Back Better Regional Challenge. 

Specializing in advanced packaging, NeoCity’s process intricately connects thousands of individual components. This expertise is crucial to the success of the Biden administration’s CHIPS and Science Act, with applications vital to our nation’s economic and national security in aerospace, defense, and healthcare. 

The impetus for the county investing hundreds of millions of dollars in a site for semiconductor research, development, and manufacturing emerged out of the great recession. Presently, over 98 percent of advanced packaging occurs overseas, primarily in Asia, posing a significant security risk due to the potential for adversarial nations to introduce malicious content to the chips. 

Traditionally, Osceola County’s economy is reliant on the agriculture and tourism and hospitality industries. While undoubtedly catalyzing growth over the previous fifty years, providing opportunities for countless families who call Central Florida home, these industries have also kept wages low and left the County, and region more broadly, vulnerable during economic downturns.   

The county has secured significant victories recently, securing substantial funding such as DoD Cornerstone: $289 million, NSF Engines: $160 million, BBBRC: $50.8 million, Osceola JGGF: $17.5 million, Valencia JGGF: $4.17 million, and BRIDG Appropriation: $2.95 million.  

These achievements mark a pivotal juncture for our region’s semiconductor industry and align closely with Osceola County’s vision of an innovation district serving as a catalyst for inclusive growth and community impact.