Research meets policy
But was the re-labeling of Intel's research in Europe merely a cosmetic exercise or has it resulted in extra investment, extra research?
Professor Curley said: "I would rather talk about outputs than inputs," before firing of a list of new things Intel is doing in Europe. He listed the Rock Creek 48-core chip for parallel processing research developed in Europe; the Visual Computing Initiative formed in collaboration with Saarland University in Saarbrucken, a five year 10 million euro (about $15 million) commitment made in May 2009; and Intel's commitment to create an exascale computing research center in Paris. There Intel is working with French Atomic Energy Commission, the French National High-Performance Computing Agency and the Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines University making another multiyear multimillion dollar commitment.
But Professor Curley does benchmark the ILE headcount as having risen to 900 researchers across more than 20 labs during 2009. "We are now active in FP7 programs. There are about 20 FP7 projects Intel is involved with. Where we had one or two engineers working on FP7 we now have about 30 people and we are on course to double that by the end of next year."
Intel opened its first European office in Brussels in 1969. Why has it suddenly got the collaborative religion now?
"We had labs that were performing well but we realized the whole could be greater than the sum of the parts. We wanted a single research entity and to present a single face to the European Union. The relationships with several DGs [directorates general within the European Commission] have made huge progress," said Professor Curley. "We now get to collaborate on proposals and policy discussions."
Professor Curley mentions the Directorate General responsible for research and innovation in particular. "We wanted to try and connect the impact of the movement of electrons with societal aspects of life. This was very much in line with the European Union's Lisbon Strategy," added Professor Curley.