If it wants to remain competitive in the world Europe needs to find and spend 100 billion euros (about $130 billion) on coordinated nanoelectronics research over the next eight years, according to the organizations Aeneas and Catrene.
An annual spend of more than 10 billion euro would be a considerable increase on what Europe's spending on nanoelectronics has been over the last several years but that is what it is going to take according to a positioning document recently put out jointly by the two organizations called Innovation for the future of Europe: Nanoelectronics beyond 2020.
Aeneas and Catrene are a couple of those typically European organizations set up to represent and influence interests in spending pooled resources on worthy goals, in this case the advancement of nanoelectroncs in Europe. So it should be no surprise that for them the answer is more money.
Aeneas, the Association for European Nanoelectronics Activities, is a non-profit body formed in 2006 that represents about 100 companies and research institutes in Europe. Catrene, the Cluster for Application and Technology Research in Europe on Nanoelectronics, is a four-year collaborative research super project begun in 2008. Over its four years it has assigned about 4 billion euro (about $5 billion) of resources.
So it can be seen that the two bodies are looking for about a 10-fold expansion of that effort into nanoelectronics.
"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," said Enrico Villa, Chairman of Catrene, in a statement. "We firmly believe that with the right investment and Europe-wide program coordination, the European nanoelectronics ecosystem can increase Europe's worldwide revenues by over 200 billion euro per year and create an additional 250,000 direct and induced jobs in Europe."
Elsewhere in the statement Villa insists that positioning paper "has been put together and endorsed by all the major actors in the European nanoelectronics ecosystem, including large industrial companies, SMEs, research organizations and academic institutes."
That is as may be. Who would not seek to persuade member states and the European Commission of the need to spend more taxpayers' money to R&D. But it also touches on one of the major problems of the European Union.