The European Union is ponying up more than $6 billion to attract more chip production to the continent. The plan is to channel public funding into nanotechnology research to match a similar amount of investment from the companies supported by the effort.
"Others are aggressively investing in computer chips and Europe cannot be left behind,” said European Commission vice president Neelie Kroes. “We have to reinforce and connect our existing strongholds and develop new strengths. A rapid and strong coordination of public investment at EU, member state and regional level is needed to ensure that transformation.”
In its position paper on the plan, the AENEAS and CATRENE research associations outlined the priorities of the effort, including collaboration with research institutes and academia; pilot lines to prove state-of-the-art microchip technologies; enhancement of large-scale semiconductor microchip manufacturing in Europe (150 mm, 200 mm and 300 mm wafer size); dedicated test bed facilities for equipment and materials (450 mm wafer size); and microchip, system and application development that leverages Europe’s strengths in solving societal challenges across the entire value chain.
Because of comprehensive incentives outside Europe, the world is not a level playing field, the groups said. To compete, the European nanoelectronics ecosystem needs a coherent and aligned industrial strategy that is supported by industry, the European Union and the Member States.