Grant Application for: Cross-disciplinary Semiconductor Research (CSR)


SRC-GRC is soliciting grant applications in Cross-disciplinary Semiconductor Research.

The goal of CSR is to foster exploratory, multi-disciplinary, high-risk university research leading to novel high-payoff solutions for the science and technology challenges faced by the semiconductor industry at and beyond the time horizons of the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS). Successful CSR projects will offer innovative and, hopefully, disruptive solutions to the challenge of enabling exponential gains in cost/performance benefits provided by the semiconductor industry for the foreseeable future, and may lead to novel applications for this industry and may enhance the population of non-traditional researchers/out of box thinkers working with the SRC.

The role of this program is to stimulate non-traditional thinking about the issues facing the semiconductor industry. It is intended to seed new research and programs for the SRC-GRC, SRC-FCRP, and SRC-NRI. Consistent with the incubator role of the initiative, these will be 1 year non-overhead bearing grants and the funding level is $40K. Awardees are encouraged to develop a proposal for follow-on funding of expanded programs by the SRC-GRC, SRC-FCRP or other agencies. Follow-on funding will depend on the availability of funds and strategic plan alignment.

In cooperation with SRC, the Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems Division of the National Science Foundation will consider making separate awards on select topics under its EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) program.


The SRC CSR Program solicits exploratory proposals in three related but distinct areas in 2009: i) Materials that support novel devices, and ii) Design methods for ultra-high-speed mixed signal /RF circuits and systems, and iii) Cyber-Physical Systems Design. An indication of SRC interests in these three areas is outlined in the following:

I. Materials that Support Novel Devices

This includes material properties, synthesis methods, metrology and modeling required for emerging research nanoelectronic devices (including analog, sensors, data storage etc), and assembly and packaging. Proposals in a broad cross-disciplinary area of materials research are sought, that address Difficult Challenges in emerging research materials technologies. These challenges and projected research requirements are summarized in ITRS Emerging Research Materials Chapter ( Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Low-dimensional materials
    • (e.g. nanotubes, nanowires, graphitic systems, functional nanoparticles, contact engineering, etc.)
    • Composable design methodology
  • Macromolecules.
    • (e.g. molecular state device materials, low-K dielectrics, package applications, etc.)
  • Spin materials
    • (e.g. spin injection/filter interfaces, multiferroics, diluted magnetic semiconductors etc.)
  • Complex metal ozides
    • (e.g. design of materials and interface properties, role of defects, materials for memory devices, fundamental understanding of the impact of symmetry on switching dynamics, strongly correlated electron state materials, etc)
  • Cross-cut categories also include topics in Environment, Safety and Health, Metrology, Modeling and Simulation

II. Enabling Design for Ultra-High-Speed Devices

There is a growing opportunity to operate mixed-signal/RF VLSI circuits in the 50 GHz+ regime where reliable design methodologies are not currently available, even though CMOS transistor fT is much higher. Thus, the ability to achieve maximum benefits for circuit design from device high fT is a fundamental issue, which requires creative efforts. Examples of potential applications include but are not limited to wireless high-definition TV, automotive radars, networking, imaging etc. Radical new ideas are solicited to develop new design capabilities for the ultrahigh speed mixed-signal/RF VLSI (50 GHz+). Specific challenges include:

  • Circuit implementations for > 50 GHz show marked deviation from simulations due to poor accuracy of existing models
  • The device layout has a significant impact on performance
  • Existing compact models are not directly applicable for >50 GHz design
  • Technology variability cause unpredictable or unacceptable operation

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • CAD tools for ultra-high-speed VLSI design, e.g.
    • Faster and more accurate analysis
    • Variability-awareness
    • Composable design methodology
  • Compact modeling for >50 GHz devices, e.g.
    • Device layout impact on performance
    • Compact noise models for >50GHz
  • Fundamental circuit blocks that can be used to make large designs
    • Digital libraries
    • Analog block design
  • New methods for modeling of interconnects and passive components at >50 GHz
  • Ability to achieve maximum benefits from high fT

III. Cyber-Physical Systems Design

Cyber-physical systems are characterized by the integration of and synergy between the system's physical and computational elements. Concepts are sought that improve the link between computational and physical elements, to increase the adaptability, autonomy, efficiency, functionality, reliability, safety, and usability of cyber-physical systems. For example, deeply embedded computing within granular components of adaptive networks in physical systems could dramatically improve the performance of physical systems, as well as add new capability and functionality. Technology sectors that could benefit from these systems include, but are not limited to, aviation and automotive systems, biomedical, energy production and distribution, autonomous micro-systems, and virtual immersion. The realization of intelligent components that are embedded in networked physical devices requires aggressive collaboration that integrates research from a multiplicity of disciplines, from materials and devices to circuit/SoC design, software development, systems and other engineering disciplines, and application domain knowledge.

Important attributes of Cyber-Physical Systems include:

  • Intelligent components
  • Intelligent communication
  • Extreme-scale networking
  • Real-time operation
  • Pervasive sensing/activation
  • Morphic architectures
  • Time-aware software
  • Autonomous and adaptive behavior
  • Information/physical system interfaces

Grant Application Guidelines

Responses are limited to 3 pages, using at least a 10-point font, and MUST BE SUBMITTED VIA THE SRC WEB SITE by FRIDAY, MAY 1st, 3 PM EDT/12 PM PDT. Non-compliance with these guidelines may exclude your grant application from consideration.

Please include the following identifying information on your grant application:

  • Project title
  • Investigator(s)
  • University
  • Telephone number, mailing address and e-mail address

Please address the following in your grant application:

  • Approximately 100 word executive summary
  • Problem to be addressed: explain the rationale for the project in terms of the semiconductor industry needs
  • Objective: what do you plan to do?
  • Novelty: the basic concept and discuss the role of cross-disciplinary research in providing a unique solution to the problem addressed
  • Approach: strategy for addressing the problem
  • Research output: identify possible research products of a successful research program
  • IP: identify pre-existing intellectual property, if any

Timetable and Deadlines

Event Deadline
Deadline to Submit Grant Applications Friday, May 1, 2009, 3 PM EDT/12 PM PDT
Notification of Final Program Selection Results July 1, 2009
Program/Funding Start August 1, 2009

Please direct all technical questions to Dr. Victor Zhirnov, (, 919-941-9454).
All other questions should be directed to Leslie Faiers, (, 919-941-9455).

4819 Emperor Blvd, Suite 300 Durham, NC 27703 Voice: (919) 941-9400 Fax: (919) 941-9450

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