The European Commission has passed a microelectronics research plan, which was jointly presented by Germany, Italy and France as Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI). Following the latest rulings, the public authorities can offer roughly €1.75 billion to strengthen research and innovation. It is also likely to unlock an extra €6 billion in in private investment, and the entire project will most probably complete by 2024. To be specific, France wanted the approval to offer funding of nearly €355 million, Germany about €820 million, Italy approximately €524 million and the UK roughly €48 million, as the part of the scheme. Under the IPCEI, there falls five technology areas, including energy efficient ICs, optical equipment, power semiconductors, compound semiconductor materials, and sensors. This will prove beneficial for many institutions and companies, including CEA-Leti, Bosch, X-Fab, STMicroelectronics, Globalfoundries, and Soitec. The five sectors are going to cover 40 sub-projects across 29 direct project members, in total. Both Belgium and the Netherlands aren’t included in the scheme, thus, the research institute IMEC, and NXP Semiconductors will not be among direct participants, but may participate in some particular sub-projects. For now, there are no details regarding what will happen to the participants belonging to the United Kingdom, such as IQE, SPTS Technologies, Newport Wafer Fab, – and monies, after the UK leaves the European Union on March 29. The EC had come up with the IPCEI framework back in 2014 in order to protect the European Union and member states from the charges of breaching World Trade Organization rules on state subsidies for industries. As per the IPCEI rules, you can make an investment in research, innovation, development and first industrial deployment only if the projects getting the funding are innovative in abundance and don’t include mass production or commercial activities. The IPCEI proposal for microelectronics has been in process from some years and Germany has already dispersed some monies on the same. In the most recent move, the EC has officially agreed that a project jointly informed by France, Italy, the UK, and Germany for innovation and research in the field of microelectronics follows EU state aid rules and adds to a common European interest.
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