LONDON The German state of Saxony has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Abu Dhabi's Executive Affairs Authority agreeing to set up opportunities to share and exchange knowledge and expertise in advanced technology R&D, in particular in microelectronics, according to the Advanced Technology Investment Co. (ATIC).
Some observers have indicated the signing of the MoU could presage a movement of technologies for advanced technology manufacturing operations from Germany to Abu Dhabi, including semiconductor manufacturing technology to allow Abu Dhabi to set up a wafer fab within its borders.
Saxony includes the city of Dresden where GlobalFoundries Inc. (Sunnyvale, Calif.) has a major wafer fab, which has received substantial state aid as part of its construction. Abu Dhabi is the majority owner of GlobalFoundries through the state-owned ATIC.
The MOU was signed on May 25 by Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority and Johannes Beermann, Chief of the State Chancellery and Minister of State for Federal Affairs, Saxony. Present at the signing were Ibrahim Ajami, CEO of ATIC and Klaus-Peter Brandes, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United Arab Emirates.
Abu Dhabi sent 20 students to work at GlobalFoundries in summer 2009. In June 2010 60 students are set to travel from the emirate to Dresden to participate in the seven-week Al Nokhba internship at GlobalFoundries.
"Encouraging the exchange of knowledge in the fields of science and technology can only add to the development of expertise required for the future development of the advanced technology sector in Abu Dhabi," said Al Mubarak, in a statement issued by ATIC.
"The establishment of the Abu Dhabi, Saxony Partnership Committee with its four working groups will extend our cooperation to more sectors of common interest. This is the best way for mutual benefit," said ATIC's Ajami. The working groups cover, industry, R&D, education and training, and culture.
Germany's involvement with the Middle-East predates its engagement with Abu Dhabi. In 2002 Communicant Semiconductor Technologies AG was launched with backing from another member of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai. The project was slated to make chips on a silicon-germanium process.
Work was begun on a fab shell in Frankfurt-an-der-Oder but the project collapsed in 2003 at which point Dubai switched focus to the creation of the Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) as a design hub in the UAE. However, despite indivudal and company incentives the DSO has yet to create a critical mass of activity there.
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