Highlighting the need for Europe to substantially increase its research and innovation efforts in nanoelectronics in order to maintain its worldwide competitiveness, the document outlines a proposal by companies and institutes within Europe’s nanoelectronics ecosystem to invest 100 billion € up to the year 2020 on an ambitious research and innovation programme, planned and implemented in close cooperation with the European Union and the Member States.
“Nanoelectronics is not only strategically important to Europe in its own right, it is also a key enabling technology to help solve all of the societal challenges identified in the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme,” said Enrico Villa, Chairman of CATRENE. “This important new positioning paper, which has been put together and endorsed by all the major actors in the European nanoelectronics ecosystem, including large industrial companies, SMEs, research organisations and academic institutes, is intended to open up discussions on how Europe-wide research and innovation in nanoelectronics can be coordinated to maximise its applicability and economic value.”
Europe’s semiconductor industry and research institutes remain at the heart of Europe’s knowledge-based economy, contributing an estimated 30 billion € to Europe’s annual revenues. Its semiconductor companies have dominant global positions in key application areas, such as transport and security, as well as in equipment and materials for worldwide semiconductor manufacturing. Nanoelectronics is not only opening up new opportunities to exploit Europe’s strengths in equipment and materials for worldwide digital microchip production, it also offers opportunities to expand European semiconductor manufacturing on 150mm, 200mm and 300mm wafers to produce the highly specialised nano-scale devices required to interface digital chips to real-world application environments. Creating these new devices will be critical to maintaining Europe’s world-leading position in industry segments such as automotive, aerospace, medical, industrial, and telecommunications.
Urgent strategy actions recommended in the positioning paper to secure the future of Europe’s nanoelectronics ecosystem include extension of the European Union’s dedicated budgets for Key Enabling Technologies to reflect their common dependence on nanoelectronics; simplified notification and enlarged eligibility for public funding in nanoelectronics, and greater focus on European Union funding for regional initiatives to support the proposed programme.
“Despite today’s climate of austerity, investing in technologies that will sustain Europe throughout the 21st century and solve important societal challenges such as energy efficiency, security and the aging population, makes economic sense,” explained Mr Villa. “We firmly believe that with the right investment and Europe-wide programme coordination, the European nanoelectronics ecosystem can increase Europe’s worldwide revenues by over 200 billion € per year and create an additional 250,000 direct and induced jobs in Europe.”
AENEAS is a non-profit industrial association established in 2006 federating European R&D players: large industrial companies, SMEs, and research organisations. It sets the R&D agenda on nanoelectronics in Europe, represents R&D actors in their interactions with Public Authorities and brings together people with ideas to run R&D projects.
The EUREKA programme CATRENE began in January 2008 and aims at a Technological Leadership for a competitive European ICT industry. It brings together all key actors of the European nanoelectronics value chain around R&D projects and market opportunities while addressing societal challenges.
Resources required have been targeted at approximately 2,500 person-years annually, equalling about 4 B€ for the complete programme.
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