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Leuven-based nanotech flagship imec takes the lead in EU Chips Act

10 February 2022

Imec will play a central role in Europe’s ambitions to become a world player in the field of innovative chip technology. The digital and nanotech pioneer will receive at least EUR 1 billion in European funding to backbone the EU’s recently presented Chips Act, which seeks to boost the continent’s competitiveness when it comes to micro- and nanochips.

A cleanroom in the imec premises at the Leuven headquarters
© imec - A cleanroom in the imec premises at the Leuven headquarters

To firmly position Europe as a world player in semiconductors by 2030: that’s the goal pursued by the European Commission with the Chips Act. Headquartered in Leuven (Flanders), strategic research center imec is at the heart of the ambitious European chip plans. Together with French research institute CEA-Leti and Germany’s Fraunhofer Society, it will join a European research consortium.

As part of the consortium, imec will not only continue to drive innovation towards obtaining the very smallest, most powerful and most economical chips. It will also invest in new test lines with which complete products can be made.

Imec is already the world leader in the development of the smallest and most powerful semiconductors. It does this together with and for top companies from all over the world. The European plans threatened to undermine that model, but after tough negotiations Imec managed to safeguard its unique position. It will remain the core of what we do,' says Van den hove.

In addition to these international partnerships, Imec is also involved in the development of specific chips tailored to the industry of tomorrow. The European Union is making 6 billion euros available for such test and design lines. This money is supplemented by contributions from member states who are joining the consortium and from the European Investment Bank EIB.

Imec can count on 1 to 1.5 billion euros in funding for the test lines. Detailed figures are not yet available, as political negotiations on the Chips Act, the elaboration of the European consortium and the funding are still ongoing. Chip research absorbs larger amounts of money year after year. Last year, Imec had a budget of 730 million euros. Flanders contributes about a fifth of the operating costs and regularly jumps in for large projects, but the Flemish resources are not unlimited.

Source: based on De Tijd

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