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UK finally commissions report on semiconductor infrastructure

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty


Despite being urged to publish its long delayed semiconductor strategy report, the UK government is only now commissioning a report on the infrastructure needed to support the technology.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which oversees communications regulator Ofcom and the social media ‘tech’ firms is now seeking to commission a study to understand the technical and economic feasibility and requirements of a UK Semiconductor Infrastructure Initiative.

The report, commissioned for nearly £1m, has to look at how the government can drive the growth of the UK semiconductor sector and contribute to supply chain resilience, with the tender closing on 17th January 2023 and finishing on 2nd August 2023.

This follows a highly critical report by the UK’s select committee for science and technology, calling for the publication of the report and to settle the ‘turf war’ between the business department and DCMS. The report was welcomed by UK companies such as Sondrel and Imagination Technologies that are at the leading edge of the industry 

“DCMS told us that it had been reviewing its approach to the semiconductor sector and that it planned to publish a semiconductor strategy in autumn 2022. The strategy has already been nearly two years in the making. The industry has waited for the strategy and will base crucial decisions upon it. The Government should lose no more time and should publish its Semiconductor Strategy immediately,” says the committee.

The committee has already commissioned its own survey of the industry back in May to look at the needs of the industry.

This also follows the decision by the UK government to force Dutch chip maker Nexperia to sell 86% of its stake in its wafer fab in Newport wafer. The company also owns a fab at Hazel Grove in Manchester making power chips and so is a key part of the UK semiconductor infrastructure.

The European parliament and member states have also approved its CHIPS Act to support semiconductor infrastructure in the region.

However this is also similar to the failure of the UK strategy on battery technology, with lead company BritishVolt facing administration.

The tender is at https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk

 


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