€10 billion Europpean programme to bid to boost semiconductors

May 23, 2013 // By Peter Clarke, EE Times
BRUSSELS, Belgium – The European Commission has launched a campaign of public investment in micro- and nano-electronics with the aim of doubling chip production on the continent to reach 20% of global production.

The plan is to channel more than €5billion of public authority money into research, development and innovation over the next seven years to match a similar amount of investment from the companies supported by the plan. However, the spending is likely to be spread across the whole semiconductor supply chain and cannot be used to simply lower the cost of capital or buy production equipment due to anti-subsidy commitments.

European Commission vice president Neelie Kroes said: "Others are aggressively investing in computer chips and Europe cannot be left behind. 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."

Kroes, who is responsible for digital economy and services delivery in Europe, has argued for several years that nano-electronics is strategic to European wealth creation as a least 10% of GDP depends on electronic products and services.

Kroes said that the public authorities across Europe, at the Commission, member state and regional level should be able to channel more than €5 billion into research, development an innovation over the next seven years. "This is what will attract not only a similar amount of investment in research and innovation by industry but also the €100 billion that industry has committed to invest in Europe if we are able to get our act together," Kroes said in the text of a speech to launch the initiative.

"I want Europe to produce more chips in Europe than the United States produces domestically. It's a realistic goal if we channel our investments properly," Kroes said. The industrial strategy will focus on larger investments to reinforce Europe's semiconductor centers in Dresden, Eindoven, Leuven and Grenoble and their connections to design clusters in such places as Cambridge and Milan.

"If we don't take this opportunity, if we don't connect our strongholds, then others