Europe to spend €1.75 bn for micro electronics research

December 20, 2018 // By Peter Clarke
Europe to spend €1.75 bn for micro electronics research
The European Commission has approved a microelectronics research plan – tendered jointly by France, Germany, Italy and Germany – as an Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI).

The ruling means that public authorities will be able to provide up to €1.75 billion (about $2 billion) to support research and innovation. This is expected to unlock an additional €6 billion (about $7 billion) in private investment and the overall project is due to be completed by 2024.

More specifically, France has sought approval to provide funding of up to €355 million, Germany up to €820 million, Italy up to €524 million and the UK up to €48 million, under the scheme.

The IPCEI covers five technology areas: energy efficient ICs, power semiconductors, sensors, optical equipment and compound semiconductor materials. The companies and institutions set to benefit include: CEA-Leti, STMicroelectronics, Soitec, Bosch, Globalfoundries, X-Fab. The five sectors will cover 40 sub-projects across a total of 29 direct project members. As neither Belgium nor the Netherlands are part of the scheme NXP Semiconductors and research institute IMEC are not directly included but could take part in specific sub-projects.

No commentary is provided about what will happen to United Kingdom participants  – including IQE, Newport Wafer Fab, SPTS Technologies – and monies, once the UK withdraws the European Union on March 29.

The EC adopted the framework of the IPCEI in 2014 as a means to protect the European Union and member states against charges of contravening World Trade Organization rules on state subsidies for industries. The IPCEI rules support investments for research, development and innovation and first industrial deployment on condition that the projects receiving this funding are highly innovative and do not cover mass production or commercial activities.

Next: Worked on in the wings

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