The Commission launched a strategy for coordinated public investments in micro- and nano-electronics (such as semiconductors and computer chips), designed to expand Europe's advanced manufacturing base in May 2013. Five major projects were launched to boost Europe's manufacturing competitiveness by bringing research closer to industrial needs.
What is the problem?
- Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) are the technologies which pervade the whole economy, impact competitiveness and sustain further products developments. They are the building blocks which advanced technologies include to build systems and products. Advanced processes to manufacture those goods are also a KET. (High-Level Expert Group, “Final report on Key Enabling Technologies").
- Electronic components and systems are pervasive in all modern products and services. A strong electronic industry is a critical asset for a competitive industry in Europe, including for automotive, energy, health, security and consumer sectors. Access to critical electronic components should be secured.
- Soaring R&D&I costs and a more competitive R&D&I environment necessitate cooperation along the innovation chain.
- New business and production models competing with the traditional ones, i.e. fabless/foundry versus integrated manufacturers.
- European industry is almost absent from some large market segments which may jeopardize Europe's position in the long run.
- Investments of EU companies remain relatively modest, with difficulties to bring research and innovation results to the market and keep manufacturing in Europe.
Why is EU action required?
- The national strategy of any single Member State is limited to its national industry. This is insufficient for tackling the complex interdependent innovations that drive the electronic components and systems industry. An encompassing strategy at the European level is needed to build on the existing excellent strengths of Europe in this field.
- As a Key Enabling Technology micro- and nanoelectronics is pervasive but lacks visibility. It is necessary to cover the whole value chain and leave no gap in face of the worldwide competition. This is only possible at the European level.
- Public support is needed to leverage private investments – within the implementation of the future Public-Private Partnership (action 129), every euro spend by the EU will result in an investment in Europe of 4 euros.
What has the Commission done so far?
- In 2012 and 2013, the ENIAC Joint Undertaking launched dedicated calls for manufacturing pilot lines in line with the recommendations from the High-Level Group on Key Enabling Technologies. The total investment in the projects retained for funding is about €1.7 billion co-funded by the Commission for nearly €260 million and by the participating Member States for another €240 million.
- The Commission incentivised private actors to coordinate actions, especially among the 3 existing European Technology Platforms: ENIAC, ARTEMIS and EPoSS (High Level Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda of the ICT Components and Systems Industries), and efforts which further support the setup of the future Joint Undertaking on electronic components and systems (action 129).
- On 29 May 2013, the Commission launched an industrial strategy for the area of micro- and nano-electronics. The aim of the Communication is to increase Europe's attractiveness for investment in design and production as well as increase its global market share.
What will the Commission do next?
- The Commission will follow up on the implementation of the industrial strategy in the area of micro- and nano-electronics based on the industrial roadmap for investment in the field delivered by the Electronics Leaders Group.
- The investment focus of the future Joint Undertaking will be further directed to large scale federating projects including pilot lines and large demonstrators.
- Support to existing structuring actions, notably by further bringing together the main European clusters in Dresden, Grenoble, Leuven, Eindhoven and their coordination.
- Further build on, and support horizontal competitiveness measures in the fields of skills, public procurement, international cooperation and standards.
By reducing fragmentation and duplication, the public money is better spent and focus is improved, positively impacting European competitiveness and further favouring job creation in innovative applications.