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EETE NOVEMBER 2012

NEWS & TECHNOLOGY EUROPEAN RESEARCH Silicon Europe: a cluster of clusters to boost the European micro- and nanoelectronics industry By Julien Happich THe already esTaBlisHed micro- and nanoelectronics many years. it is not so much for the lack expertise, europe has clusters silicon saxony (dresden/Germany), dsP Valley (Bel- plenty, he says, but rather a lack of coordination among the dif- gium), Minalogic (Grenoble/France) and Point One (eindhoven/ ferent research entities. Netherlands) are joining forces to form the transnational cluster in 2007 only 10% of all worldwide investments into micro- alliance - silicon europe - www.silicon-europe.eu. electronics, around 28 billion euro, went to europe, while about 48% went to asia. since 2000 europe’s market share in the The cluster partners from Germany, Belgium, France and the semiconductor industry has dropped from 21 to 16 percent, Netherlands are linked by a common goal: they aim to secure yet the european microelectronics sector still employs 135,000 and expand europe’s position as the world’s leading center for people directly along with another 105,000 in its supplier indus- tries. The idea behind this international cluster of clusters is to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the different microelec- tronics research labs and industries across europe in order to establish a clear map of compe- tences. This could help identify regions for ‘smart specialization’, a eU’s control mechanism to tai- lor and efficiently distrib- ute development funds in the european technology regions. acting on a pan- european scale, silicon europe could also give all its partners the means to leverage and better share european funds for the acquisition of advanced research equipment or semiconductor pilote energy efficient micro- and nanoelectronics and information lines. These installations could then be shared across different and communications technology (iCT). Together, the clusters labs and research projects. represent about 800 research institutes and companies, which account for more than 150,000 jobs; among the companies are By increasing the visibility of microelectronics, this transna- global market leaders such as Philips, NXP, Globalfoundries, tional cluster alliance aims at gathering active political support Infineon, STMicroelectronics, Schneider Electric and Thales. from the different European member states, so that national The move comes from the aknowledgment that in order to governments increase their cooperation and synchronize their remain competitive and assert its position in a global market economic and innovation policies. silicon europe is also calling place, europe has to leverage its expertise across all its labs for a european micro- and nanoelectronics summit, which – and workforce. similar to the German iT summit – would bring together leading “We need to give more visibility to the fields of micro- and actors and decision makers from the european Commission, nanoelectronics at the european level, not only to attract busi- the national governments and all relevant branch organiza- nesses globally, but also as an incentive for the european states tions and associations. Members of this super cluster are also to get their act together for new investments in research and working on a strategic technology roadmap, which could serve education” explained Jean Chabbal, Chief representative for the european Commission as a template and development and Minalogic’s CeO. according to Chabbal, in these highly guide for future programs. The european Commission’s initial innovative sectors, europe lacks the type of visibility that Korea, fund for the first 3 years of this project amounts to 2.8 millions Taiwan, or the silicon Valley have been able to maintain for euros. 10 Electronic Engineering Times Europe November 2012 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE NOVEMBER 2012
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