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article imageEuropean Union invests €1.75 billion in microelectronics research

By Tim Sandle     Dec 26, 2018 in Technology
The European Union has committed to making a major tranche of investment in micro-electronic research and development, pledging to fund the industry to the tune of €1.75 billion.
The request for the funding came from representatives from France, Germany, Italy and Germany in the form of a microelectronics research plan. There are various research areas within the plan, including organic solar cells and other photovoltaic systems; printable electronics, very-large-scale integration (VLSI) technology, thin film transistors; nanoelectronics; compact modelling of semiconductor devices,; and fabrication technology. The main focus will be to develop innovative technologies and components (such as chips, integrated circuits, and sensors) that can be integrated in a large set of downstream applications.
Requests for the funding was approved by the European Commission in December 2018, for €1.75 billion in funding. The project also aims to unlock an additional €6 billion in private investment. The project timeline is to complete a number of areas of research and investigation by 2024 (although there will be differing timelines for each sub-project). Approval was granted on the basis that these ideas formed an "Important Project of Common European Interest."
Commenting on the project, Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, stated: "Microelectronics can be found in almost all electronic devices we use every day – be it your phone, computer, washing machine, or your car. Innovation in microelectronics can help the whole of Europe leap ahead in innovation. That's why it makes sense for European governments to come together to support such important projects of common European interest."
Also making a public comment, as quoted by EE News Europe, was Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, who is responsible for Digital Economy and Society. She said: "If we don't want to depend on others for such essential technology, for example for security or performance reasons, we have to be able to design and produce them ourselves. Today's decision is a result of enhanced cooperation and shared European vision."
Specific projects under the scheme include:
Energy efficient chips: developing new solutions to improve the energy efficiency of chips. These will, for example, reduce the overall energy consumption of electronic devices including those installed in cars.
Power semiconductors: developing new technologies of components for smart appliances as well as for electric and hybrid vehicles, to increase the reliability of final semiconductor devices.
Smart sensors: working on the development of new optical, motion or magnetic field sensors with improved performance and enhanced accuracy. Smart sensors will help improve car safety through more reliable and timely reaction to allow a car to change lanes or avoid an obstacle.
Advanced optical equipment: developing more effective technologies for future high-end chips; and
Compound materials: developing new compound materials (instead of silicon) and devices suitable for more advanced chips.
It is uncertain what will happen with the U.K. participants once the U.K. withdraws the European Union on March 29, 2019.
More about microelectronics, Electronics, European union
 
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