Launch of the Semiconductor Alliance with the aim of turning Catalonia into a reference pole of the sector in Europe
The Semiconductor Alliance of Catalonia, with the participation of IMB-CNM, celebrates the act of constitution of the initiative, formed by several departments of the Government of Catalonia, companies and research and innovation agents, which will work together with the aim of consolidating Catalonia as one of the reference poles of the semiconductor industry in Europe.
The Institute of Microelectronics of Barcelona (IMB-CNM) is one of the members of the 'Semiconductor and Chip Alliance of Catalonia', which was announced last May and was formed this Thursday. It is a public-private initiative that will bring together the agents of this ecosystem with the aim of leading its transformation and consolidation in Europe. The Alliance has the participation of different departments of the Government of Catalonia, as well as public and private agents that will collaborate to strengthen the ecosystem and the industrialization of chips and semiconductors.
The meeting has allowed the validation of a roadmap with a first analysis of opportunities and challenges, and the establishment of strategic lines and a preliminary proposal of key actions agreed by the agents and companies that are part of the Alliance. Thus, the Alliance will focus on promoting the growth and consolidation of the semiconductor, microelectronics, photonics and quantum ecosystem in Catalonia to achieve a competitive, innovative and sustainable economy.
The act of constitution of the Alliance was presided over by members of the Catalan Government: the Minister of Business and Labor, Roger Torrent i Ramió; the Minister of Economy and Finance, Natàlia Mas Guix, and the Minister of Research and Universities, Joaquim Nadal i Farreras. Luis Fonseca, director of IMB-CNM, also attended on behalf of the center as a member of the Alliance Board.
"The current moment is unique because of the expectations created by the PERTE Chip and the European Chips Act, but the effort of the Bureau must be long term because we are talking not only about technologies of the present but also of the future," Fonseca explains about the Alliance.
"At the service of this endeavor we want to put the polyvalence of our action (electronics, photonics and quantum) and the flexibility and versatility of our Clean Room," he adds, "as a support for the R&D&I of research groups and companies, and as a framework for a unique training in this field that can integrate profiles from vocational training to PhD." The IMB's Micro and Nanofabrication Clean Room is considered a Unique Scientific and Technical Infrastructure (ICTS) by the Ministry of Science and Innovation and is one of the 29 facilities in Spain with the seal.
Boosting the semiconductor sector
Among other actions, the Government is already promoting various actions that have applications in the field of semiconductors, such as the deployment of support programs for business and technology projects in the field of microelectronics, the accompaniment from the EU Next Generation Office of ACCIÓ to obtain European funds -especially in the framework of PERTE Chip-, or the organization of information sessions on new opportunities.
Another relevant aspect that the Alliance will seek is to strengthen relations and the positioning of Catalonia in Europe, promoting the country's participation in European initiatives for the development of the semiconductor and chip ecosystem. For example, Catalonia is already one of the driving regions of the recently created Semiconductor European Regions Alliance, which aims to boost the growth and competitiveness of the semiconductor industry on the continent through the exchange of knowledge and best practices and cooperation between regions.
"We are proud to count on the institute for a public-private collaborative effort such as the Semiconductor and Chip Alliance Table of Catalonia led at a high level by the Catalan administration and together with research institutions such as BSC, ICFO or ICN2, universities and representatives of the business world," adds the IMB-CNM director.
The Alliance Board, the governance body of this new initiative, will be integrated into the Department of Enterprise and Labor, which will chair it. The initiative is also driven by the Departments of Economy and Finance, and Research and Universities, and also has the participation of the Departments of the Presidency, and External Action and European Union. ACCIÓ will provide the technical and administrative support necessary for the development of the Bureau's functions.
Apart from the government departments involved, representatives of companies and agents of the research system are also members. Representatives from Cisco, IBM, Ideaded, IMASENIC, MPS, NXP and Semidynamics participated in this first meeting. In addition to IMB-CNM, the General Council of Chambers of Catalonia (through the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce), the Barcelona Supercomputing Center-National Supercomputing Center (BSC-CNS), the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2), the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) were also present.
Minister Torrent explained that, with the constitution of the Alliance, the time has come to take concrete steps to "promote measures to increase Catalonia's competitiveness" in the semiconductor industry. "We have all the elements to become a pole of attraction and generation of projects linked to the sector, and I am convinced that if we move forward together we will achieve the goals we have set ourselves," he concluded.
The initiative is part of the National Pact for Industry 2022-2025, approved in the fall of 2022 and which already includes the development of a strategic plan for the development and attraction of investment for semiconductor manufacturing and the desire to position Catalonia internationally as a hub of knowledge, economic activity and infrastructure related to the chip sector. It is also in line with the priority of the National Pact for the Knowledge Society to support strategic projects in order to expand the training capacity around this sector.
Original information at govern.cat.