LONDON There is no doubt that the formation of Intel Labs Europe early in 2009 was a strategic initiative. The announcement was accompanied by the attendance of Intel chairman Craig Barrett and Intel CTO Justin Rattner at a special seminar held at the European Parliament in Brussels regarding European research, innovation and competitiveness.
But Intel's relations with Europe are not all sweetness and light. At the same time that ILE was being announced Intel was facing the possibility of billion-dollar-plus fine from the European Commission for the alleged abuse of its market dominance in microprocessors.
For the previous 40 years of its existence Intel had been somewhat insular organization when it came to R&D. Intel did collaborate with academics but it engaged in relatively little peer-to-peer collaboration. Intel, for a long time the world's largest chip company, has always been able to bankroll the research of its own manufacturing processes and processor architectures. But in January 2009 Intel beefed up the collaborative strand of its R&D in Europe and extended its research and innovation remit up to the provision of remote services in areas such as health, education and government.
It is no coincidence that these are areas of great interest in Europe which is struggling with the impacts of globalization, climate change and an ageing population. By re-organizing its European research Intel hopes to gain greater efficiency while Europe gains a more engaged corporate citizen pledged to improving European competitiveness.
"ILE is a network organization, a new platform for Intel doing research and innovation in Europe" said Professor Martin Curley, professor of technology and business Innovation at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, global director of IT innovation at Intel and Director of Intel Labs Europe.
|Professor Martin Curley|
Director of Intel Labs Europe
Speaking to EE Times nearly one year after the formation of Intel Labs Europe Professor Curley said the mission is to advance Intel Architecture research, development and innovation and to partner with European stakeholders to improve European competitiveness. "We have a mission to go beyond sand and circuits to systems and society, and our digital health research initiative is an example of that," he said.