January 19, 2006

Sematech Operation At UAlbany Expected To Grow In 2006

By: by Richard D'Errico, The Business Review


While International Sematech is reducing its staff by 15 percent at its headquarters in Austin, Texas, the Sematech research operation in Albany, N.Y., is expected to grow, the state University at Albany said.

Sematech, a consortium of computer chip makers, has laid off 80 employees, or about 15 percent of its staff at its main Austin location, because of rising costs related to research and development.

But at UAlbany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, the number of researchers working on Sematech projects is expected to grow from 210 to 250 by the end of the year. Sematech is made up of 12 companies, including IBM, Infineon and Texas Instruments.

In Austin, Sematech has been waiting to receive $40 million in state funding. The nonprofit group was offered that money in 2003 from the Texas Enterprise Fund to keep its research center in Austin.

Spokesman Dan McGowan said he expects the funding to come by May or June.

The cuts were made in administrative and support positions. Most of the laid-off employees were offered severance packages and job assistance.

Of the 210 people working on Sematech projects at UAlbany, 150 are UAlbany researchers and 60 people come from Sematech or one of its member companies.

That number is expected to grow to 250 by the end of 2006.

"We are pleased with the success of the New York nanotechnology strategy, as documented by the continued growth in the Sematech program at the UAlbany nanocollege," said Alain Kaloyeros, vice president and chief administrative officer of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

The Austin consortium of semiconductor manufacturers now has about 400 employees.