DRESDEN—The Silicon Europe project – set up in 2012 to link four regional clusters for electronics research and business development – has been transformed into the Silicon Europe Alliance and will now act as an umbrella organization for 12 regional organizations across Europe.
The European Commission under the Framework Program 7 collaborative research funded Silicon Europe to the tune of 2.7 million (about $3.0 million) in funding, according to Frank Boesenberg, the outgoing project coordinator of Silicon Europe. The four groups that founded Silicon Europe are: Silicon Saxony, centred on Dresden, Germany; Minalogic in Grenoble, France; DSP Valley of Belgium; and High Tech NL from The Netherlands. BCS NL in Nijmegen, The Netherlands and me2c in Carinthia, Austria joined subsequently.
However, as that funded project ends in October 2015, the group has been reinvented as the Silicon Europe Alliance and added six more digital technology clusters to its cluster-of-clusters project. These are: Distretto Green & High Tech (Italy); MIDAS from Ireland; GAIA from Spain; the National Microelectronics Institute from UK, the mi-Cluster from Greece and the French SCS cluster. This broadens Silicon Europe both technologically and geographically.
As a result the Silicon Europe Alliance now represents about 2,000 companies and partner institutions including many small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) as well as global companies such as Globalfoundries, Infineon, NXP and STMicroelectronics. It also is present in 10 countries across Europe.
Peter Simkens, managing director at DSP Valley, has been elected chairman of the cluster alliance. The group plans to provide market intelligence, match-making, a channel for communications and engage in brand building for European electronics, he said. The group will not only work within Europe to achieve economies of scale but also to reach out to application markets such as automotive, industrial and medical electronics and internationally.
The group has been awarded 800,000 (about $900,000) by the European Commission for two years to cover work towards engagement with Taiwan and the east coast of the United States.
Willy van Puymbroeck, head of unit at the Directorate General Connect of the European Commission, said of the original Silicon Europe project: "It's a project well done. It's a lifeline to the SMEs and the regions."
Van Puymbroeck re-iterated the European Commission's position that the design and manufacturing of chips are of strategic importance and that the company wants to reverse the ebbing tide of chip manufacturing done in Europe. However, van Puymbroeck qualified this by saying the plan is to double the value of production across the value chain and not purely the value of chip production.
—Peter Clarke covers business news and analog for EE Times Europe.
Article originally posted on EE Times Europe.