LONDON Medea+, the pan-European collaborative research program focused on microelectronics, has announced that Catrene (Cluster for Application and Technology Research in Europe on NanoElectronics) is to be the follow on program to take electronics into the nanoscale era.
Catrene is a four-year program, set to operate under the auspices of the Eureka program and scheduled to start on Jan. 1 2008, extendable by another four years. Catrene is earmarked to make use of 4,000 person-years of effort each year, equivalent to about 6 billion euro (about $8.5 billion) for the extended program.
Commercial participants in Eureka projects can usually get half their costs paid by their national governments while academic institutions can get up to 75 percent of their costs paid.
The 6 billion euro budget for Catrene is roughly equivalent to 20,000 person-years of effort expended on the Medea+ program from 2001 to 2008. It comprised 77 projects involving and around 450 partner organizations from large and small companies, institutes and academia.
Catrene is set to build on Medea+ and its predecessors Medea and Jessi. And like Medea+, Catrene is chartered with embracing companies throughout the supply chain, including applications, technology, materials and equipment suppliers, as well as involving industrial companies of all sizes, universities and other research institutions, supported by Public Authorities.
On feature of Catrene is idea of Lighthouse Projects, which address major socioeconomic needs such as transportation, healthcare, security, energy and entertainment through focused R&D programs.
In the foreseeable future, the role of electronics and information systems will further increase as European society is faced with structural problems such as ageing of the population, exploding healthcare cost, transportation bottlenecks, rising energy costs and the need to increase productivity to be competitive on a worldwide basis. These societal challenges are also major opportunities for European industry and the Lighthouse Projects are intended to help European companies address these markets and to become worldwide market leaders. The "umbrella" lighthouse projects will serve as a focus for specific technology and applications development projects that address these challenges.
"For more than a decade, the Eureka, Jessi, Medea and Medea+ programs have made it possible for Europe's industry to reinforce its position in semiconductor process technology, manufacturing and applications, and to become a key supplier to markets such as telecommunications, consumer electronics and automotive electronics," said Jozef Cornu, Chairman of Medea+ and designated chairman of Catrene, in a statement. "Nanoelectronics will offer enormous opportunities to those who are the first to master and bring to market new technologies and applications and we believe that Catrene will play a vital role in helping Europe's microelectronics industry to go from strength to strength."
Key technology goals included within Catrene involve maintaining and increasing Europe's strength in intellectual property across the electronics supply chain and its leadership in lithography, silicon-on-insulator materials, component packaging; and strengthening European expertise in applying semiconductor process technology to efficient design for new electronics applications.