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DISPATCH: Congress must act to reestablish US as semiconductor superpower

Updated: Sep 22, 2022

The following is an editorial from Neville Pinto, President of University of Cincinnati, as published in the Columbus Dispatch. Remember the last time you got serious about something? You likely achieved your desired result. Why? Getting serious is a forcing function. It forces focus.

It forces discipline. It forces decisiveness. It forces resolve. Look at those you admire most. They’re serious people. Serious about being a better parent, a better friend, a better professional, a better listener, a better learner or a better human. Unserious people may entertain. But it’s the serious people who inspire. Katherine Boyle, a journalist turned investor, believes America’s fate is rooted in seriousness. Historically, our nation thrives when we get serious about solving problems. We suffer, by contrast, when we allow unserious agendas to rule the day. Last month, Congress passed the CHIPS and Science Act by a wide margin with bipartisan support. Last week, the President signed it into law. This bill is the most serious effort yet to build the resources and runway for America to elevate its technology game. Here’s how. The CHIPS and Science Act funds all of these critical areas and more. It’s a far-sighted, well-balanced, multi-level strategy designed to position America for long-term success. It’s a serious move in the ultra-serious terrain of global competitiveness and national security.

As a scientist and university administrator, I’m proud of my federal government for taking our nation’s intellectual growth and technological development so seriously. As an Ohioan, I’m even prouder of my state’s leadership for being ahead of the curve. In January, Gov. Mike DeWine and his team landed a $20 billion commitment from Intel to build two state-of-the-art chip factories in Ohio. Intel pledged to invest another $100 million in education and research partnerships across the state. The Ohio legislature then provided the broad-based support and funding to seal the deal. Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown, along with Rep. Steve Chabot, successfully advanced this agenda on Capitol Hill.

That’s a serious win. And it took serious leadership to make it happen. As early as 2020, J.P. Nauseef and his team at JobsOhio foresaw the need to build a new model for technology investments. They made a historic $100 million investment in the newly-established Cincinnati Innovation District, a dynamic hub for talent, science, technology, medicine, research, innovation, education and outreach.

This includes an educational and workforce strategy: to dramatically increase the number of STEM graduates from the University of Cincinnati. It also includes a major research strategy: to accelerate breakthrough discoveries at UC and Cincinnati Children’s. Both pursuits are well ahead of schedule in terms of impact.

JobsOhio then funded the launch of two more innovation districts, in Cleveland and Columbus, to further enhance and expand Ohio’s technology ecosystem.

That’s a serious win. And it took serious leadership to make it happen.

The common denominator across all of these domains? Seriousness. Serious leaders.

Tackling serious challenges. Driving serious strategies. Delivering serious results.

Our nation cannot succeed on the empty calories of unseriousness. It leaves us unmotivated, uncivil and unwise. America must continue to get serious about seriousness.

Indeed, our nation’s best future depends on it.

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