Tester Announces Nearly $20 Million for Montana State University Quantum Research

Funding will help create opportunity, expand U.S. semiconductor research and development

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced $19,990,000 in National Science Foundation grant funding for the MonArk Quantum Foundry, a quantum research partnership between Montana State University and the University of Arkansas. Funding will be used to research and develop means for the creation of 2D quantum materials, essential for advancement of transistors and semiconductors used for computers, solar cells, and other rapidly evolving technology.

“Montana State University has long been on the forefront of scientific discovery, and this funding will ensure that MSU continues solving the problems of today and tomorrow,” said Tester. “The current semiconductor shortage has shown just how critical this technology is, and research like this will open doors to further breakthroughs, create opportunity for business, and allow the United States to maintain our place as the global leader in scientific and technological development.”

Montana State University will receive approximately $9.4 million in direct funding from the grant as a result of the 2021 omnibus spending bill which was supported by Tester, and will be used to develop instrumentation to create 2D materials for further study by a network of affiliated researchers. The research will then be accessible to industry, government, and academia through the use of the Open-Source 2D Materials Network. Findings could lead to critical advancements in quantum technologies in the United States such as transistors and semiconductors, used for more efficient solar cells, faster computers, and more secure information transfers.

According to the dean of the College of Letters and Science at MSU and the MonArk Quantum Foundry’s interim director Yves Idzerza, the grant will focus on bridging research and industry, creating new opportunities for Montana State University students, while strengthening the Montana economy.

“Senator Tester was very instrumental in adding language into the Endless Frontier Act that focused on getting support out to these areas of lower population,” said Idzerza. “He should be congratulated for reminding people that there are opportunities here in Montana and elsewhere in the country that have been overlooked.”

As a longtime member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Tester has been a champion of investing in technological innovation in rural America. He recently fought to advance the bipartisan Endless Frontier Act through the Senate Commerce Committee, ensuring that one of the ten new regional technology hubs would be based in rural America.