The European Commission has approved a joint microelectronics research project between France, Germany, Italy and the UK.
The four Member States will provide a joint total of €1.75 billion to the microelectronics research project, which aims to unlock a further €6 billion in additional private investment. The project aims to boost research and development into innovative microelectronic devices and components, such as chips, sensors and integrated circuits; and is expected to stimulate further research based around downstream applications – such as home appliances, vehicles and battery management systems – particularly with relation to the Internet of Things.
Participants in the microelectronics research project will focus on developing five main areas of the technology:
- Energy efficient chips – research will focus on the energy efficiency of microchips in order to reduce the energy consumption of electronic devices;
- Power semiconductors – improving the reliability of final conductor devices;
- Smart sensors – developing optical, motion and magnetic field sensors with improved accuracy and reliability;
- Advanced optical equipment – developing technologies for future high end chips; and
- Compound materials – developing new materials like silicon, which will be suitable for use in producing advanced chips.
Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner in charge of competition policy, said: “Microelectronics can be found in almost all electronic devices we use every day – be it your phone, computer, washing machine, or your car. Innovation in microelectronics can help the whole of Europe leap ahead in innovation. That’s why it makes sense for European governments to come together to support [the joint microelectronics research project], if the market alone would not take the risk. And it is why we have put special State aid rules in place to smooth the way. They enable risky and groundbreaking research and innovation to see the light of day, whilst ensuring that its benefits are shared widely and do not distort the level playing field in Europe; so that innovation supported by taxpayer money truly serves European citizens.”