UK government offers £1 million to be told how to grow chip sector

Technology News |
By Peter Clarke

The UK government’s Department of Digital Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is offering a contract worth up to £900,000 plus value added tax for a study to help it understand what should be in a UK Semiconductor Infrastructure Initiative.

This initiative, which may or may not happen, would be intended to “catalyse growth of the UK semiconductor sector and contribute to supply chain resilience.”

The DCMS has nominal responsibility for the semiconductor sector in the UK although there have been calls for it to be transferred to the department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

DCMS wants the study to look into the feasibility of setting national initiatives to bring the industry together to tackle shared challenges and help businesses scale up.

The study will consider how to improve infrastructure in five key areas: industry coordination, silicon prototyping, open-access manufacturing for compound semiconductors, advanced packaging and intellectual property. The study will also look at whether better access to prototyping and manufacturing facilities for chip firms is needed to tackle barriers to innovation and grow the industry.

Michelle Donelan, the Secretary of State at the DCMS said the study could lead to the creation of national institution responsible for semiconductors and enhanced research facilities. The UK already has a National Microelectronics Institute (NMI)

The publishing of a UK strategy on semiconductors is expected soon and is not dependent on the completion of the feasibility study.

Parties interested in writing the study have until to 16 January 2023 to submit their bid and then have until 2 August 2023 to hand in their homework.

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