European labs to receive €2.5B chip funding

European chip R&D facilities are set to benefit from €2.5 billion in funding to explore the development of advanced semiconductors, as part of the European Union’s (EU) $43 billion Chips Act.

European labs led by Belgium-based R&D organisation Imec will benefit from the move, with €1.4 billion of the total funding coming from the EU’s Digital Europe and Horizon Europe financing schemes. The remaining sum will be sponsored by industry players including Netherlands-based ASML.

Dubbed the NanoIC pilot line, an R&D project will target the development of a pre-commercial production line for sub 2-nanometre System-on-Chip, a technology expected to boost various industries spanning telecoms to health sector.

Imec claims NanoIC project will expand on its existing “pilot line facilities” built over the previous decades. The R&D institution expects this to “enable the European supplier ecosystem to enhance its competitiveness while boosting the global chip value chain”.

A core objective of NanoIC pilot line is the establishment of a pan-European chip design infrastructure, expected to play a critical role in bridging players from the technology and manufacturing sectors to help speed up development and time-to-market.

Under the project, universities, start-ups, enterprises and design and system companies will be able to test the early-stage process design kits for the prototyping of “advanced technology components” on top of commercially available wafers.

“This is particularly significant for original equipment manufacturers in sectors like health and automotive, where the demand for advanced semiconductor solutions is rapidly increasing,” Imec said.

The world’s top chipmakers including TSMC, Intel and Samsung are in a race to launch 2-nanometre processors, and Luc Van den hove, Imec’s president and CEO said EU’s support “will enable us to not only retain our leadership position, but also pivot closer to market demands”.

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