Edito by Caroline Bedran
In a very tense global geopolitical situation, the last 6 months have been full of new developments for our community. The war between Russia and Ukraine revealed, even more, our dependencies and the need to strengthen European positions. In this context, the new Chips Act proposal made by the European Commission is a mandatory path to regain leadership and compete on a level-playing field on the worldwide scene. Its impact will lead the KDT JU to evolve into the new Chips JU with a substantial budget increase, and AENEAS is fully engaged in the preparation of the final act and regulations currently under scrutiny by the European Parliament and the EU Council.
KDT and Xecs have started full speed. KDT is already in its second Call, which opened on May 3 supported by a Kick-off and Brokerage event which brought together more than 350 participants in Brussels, and Xecs is currently evaluating the proposals of its first Call, while the second Xecs Call will be launched on September 29th with an on-line event – save the date!
During the first semester of 2022, other important initiatives made progress: the new IPCEI on microelectronics and communication technologies entered its final preparation phase, the COREnect project led to the signature of a MoU between AENEAS and the 6G IA, and AENEAS applied for membership in the Alliance on processors and semiconductors technologies.
We are actively preparing EFECS 2022, which will take place in Amsterdam on November 24 and 25, and I am personally looking forward to seeing you all there! You can already register and book your stay to fully benefit from the event, hear the strategic vision of the EC and of our CEOs, learn about new trends, contribute to the SRIA, meet the community and enlarge your network.
In the meantime, let me wish you a very nice summer time!
Director General of AENEAS.
Proposed launch of the European Chips Act: analysis and reactions
Driven by continuing global chip shortages, the European Commission (EC) brought forward its proposals for a European Chips Act, publishing a package of measures on 8th February 2022. The prime aims of the proposed Act are to strengthen European resilience to supply chain disruptions and to increase European capacity in semiconductor RD&I and production, particularly for advanced nodes. Specifically, the EU aims to become an industry leader in the medium-term, with a 20% share of the global semiconductor market by 2030.
If you missed the EC’s announcements or would like a reminder of the main points, AENEAS published an analysis of the measures on the day after their release. This analysis focuses on the principle takeaways for the ECS RD&I community and you can read it here.
Industry and political reactions
Since its publication, the EU Chips Act package has sparked extensive debate within the ECS industry and beyond. It has been presented and discussed in numerous fora, including at the KDT Kick-off event in Brussels, 3rd-4th May.
There have also been formal responses from industry groupings. Among these was a joint industry statement from the industrial end-to-end semiconductor ecosystem in Europe and globally. Issued on April 25th, the statement urged the EU to move swiftly to adopt the Act.
In the political sphere, the Act has been the subject of debate both within the EU institutions and at the national level. On 11 May 2022, there was a detailed discussion of industry viewpoints and the potential impact of the Act in a roundtable session at the Dutch Parliament. ASML, NXP, SMART Photonics, Stiftung Neue Verantwortung, Infineon, Intel, and imec presented position papers (see links) and answered questions in the presence of two members of the House of Representatives, Mustafa Amhaouch (CDA) and P.J.T. van Strien (VVD).
Commission releases more details in Staff Working Document
Meanwhile, on 12th May 2022, the EC published a ‘Staff Working Document’ (SWD) on the proposed European Chips Act package. The SWD provides additional in-depth background into all aspects of the Chips Act package including the market and technological contexts, and the rationale behind the Act. It also sets out the planned implementation, governance, and funding of the Act’s three pillars: Chips for Europe, Security of Supply, and Monitoring & Crisis Response.
AENEAS has a summary of the main points from the SWD here.
As the EU Chips Act moves through the legislative process, the discussion around its goals and the means to achieve them continues. Although there is widespread support for the Act, various voices from industry and academics have challenged – and continue to challenge – specific aspects.
For instance, in a recent academic paper, ‘Mister Chips goes to Brussels: On the Pros and Cons of a Semiconductor Policy in the EU’, Bob Hancké of the LSE and Angela Garcia Calvo of the University of Reading“…ask if and how semiconductor production ….. is a viable economic activity in Europe.”
They point to areas they see as weaknesses in the EU’s strategy – in particular, the development of manufacturing capacity: “In sum, producing mature semis, the low-end segment of a high value-added market, in Europe is not a good idea”. They conclude that: “the EU should concentrate on market segments that leverage existing high skills in the workforce, its world-class research system, and in which Europe has either already developed a comparative advantage or will not find itself competing with well-established rivals.”
With the discussion and political debates on the EU Chips Act set to continue for many months, we will keep you posted on key developments via our website.
While the Czech Republic will take over presidency of the EU Council from 1 July until the end of the year, as part of its five political priorities, it specifically mentioned semiconductors as a critical supply, together with food, medicines and raw materials.
Synergies between the ECS community and the 5G/6G community
How to address the future connectivity technologies and achieve European leadership in microelectronics and connectivity? Read the Final COREnect Industry Roadmap!
After 1.5 years of continuous efforts, with the participation of 100+ top technical experts from more than 50 organisations from both telecom and microelectronics industries across Europe, the COREnect final Industry Roadmap has been finalised providing detailed insights on strategic actions required to achieve European leadership in microelectronics and connectivity within the next 10 years.
To facilitate the roadmapping work, three (3) expert groups were established focusing on 3 strategic focus areas that are critical for addressing microelectronics needs to support future connectivity: Compute & Store, Connect & Communicate, Sense & Power.
This roadmap starts by setting the scene on Europe’s current and future perspective on connectivity and providing an overview of the strategic trends and potential business opportunities in the areas of future connectivity and microelectronics. It carries out SWOT analyses on different market segments and identifies strategic actions for each strategic focus area and then concluded with a summary of strategic actions across the three strategic focus areas.
AENEAS contribution to COREnect
AENEAS has contributed to the project vision and strategy definition by conveying the view of the ECS community on the key technical challenges to be addressed, either directly or by identifying relevant interlocutors for specific topics. Conversely, it relayed any application-specific requirements derived within the COREnect project to the experts involved in the elaboration of the ECS-SRIA. The ECS-SRIA document and the COREnect roadmap activities do mutually benefit from one another’s contributions. Indeed, as highlighted by Patrick Cogez in the COREnect interview “AENEAS plays a key role in shaping the future of the Electronic Components and Systems community, promoting networking, encouraging collaborative research and innovation, and representing our members in front of the European, National and Regional Public Authorities“
The first presentation of the findings at the EuCnC & 6G Summit, Grenoble, on 7 June
The key recommendations and priorities of the Roadmap have been presented to a broad ICT audience during the COREnect Workshop at the EUCnC Summit on 7 June.
This workshop aimed at presenting the key findings of these EGs (i.e., a roadmap on how Europe should (re)act in this area), to a dedicated telecommunications community. After 2 years of intensive activities, COREnect’s recommendations have also been presented and a panel of leading experts in the area has discussed the feasibility of these recommendations. More about the workshop here.
AENEAS and 6G-IA join forces to build synergies for European leadership in next-generation telecommunications
AENEAS Industry Association and 6G Smart Networks and Services Industry Association (6G-IA) announced at the EuCnC & 6G Summit on 7 June, that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The two industry associations will seek to strengthen communication and cooperation between them, with the common objective of contributing to Europe’s leadership and technological sovereignty beyond 5G and 6G networks and services, enabled by a strong European Electronic Components & Systems (ECS) industry.
This MoU demonstrates both associations’ ambition to build on their relationship established within the EU’s COREnect Coordination and Support Action (CSA) under Horizon 2020. The MoU between AENEAS and 6G-IA also aligns with the European Commission’s ambition to drive closer collaboration and more efficient synergies between two new European Partnerships (Joint Undertakings or JUs) set up in late 2021. These JUs mobilize all European stakeholders to deliver innovative solutions in Europe to cover not only technological and business goals, but also the societal needs of the European citizens. They include the Key Digital Technologies (KDT) JU, which is directly relevant to the ECS industry, and the Smart Networks and Services (SNS) JU which is relevant to the telecommunications industry. Reinforcing the coordination between these JUs offers the potential to accelerate the development and deployment of technologies beyond 5G and 6G systems based on European electronic components and systems.
Read the full Press Release here.
Final COREnect policy workshop presenting ‘An Action Plan for European Leadership in Digital Infrastructures’
This workshop demonstrated the alignment between the COREnect recommendations and the strategy being currently put in place in Europe, under the umbrella of several initiatives such as the Chips Act, the Important Project of Common European Interest on Microelectronics and Telecommunication Technologies, and the new Eureka Clusters Programme. All speakers insisted on the importance of developing a strong Digital Infrastructure for Europe, leveraging the 5G and 6G technologies and making sure that they can be deployed globally while preserving European sovereignty.
Based on the trends observed in the automotive sector, a clear wake-up call was articulated, pointing out that the current position of the European microelectronics industry will not allow it to fully benefit from the expected shifts in the value chain, in the telecommunications sector, and other verticals. While maintaining its strongholds, Europe should put a strong emphasis on the development of a vibrant design ecosystem, training the young generations, attracting foreign talent, and developing both design tools and design houses in advanced digital and mixed-signal technologies. This would pave the way, in the longer term, to the buildup of European manufacturing capacities for these advanced nodes.
Another clear message was the need for increased collaboration between the microelectronics and the telecommunications communities, to align their strategic research agendas and develop collaborative R&I projects bridging the two domains. With that respect, the recent signature of the Memorandum of Understanding between AENEAS and the 6G-IA associations was outlined by several speakers as a major achievement of COREnect, and a stepping stone towards fully realising the synergies of the two domains for the benefit of Europe.
Opening date: 03 May 2022
Process: one-stage process
Deadline (FPP proposals): 21 September 2022, 17:00:00 Brussels time
The KDT JU Calls 2022 were launched during the KDT Kick-off and Brokerage Event on 3 May 2022. All Calls 2022 are single-stage with submission of a Full Project Proposal (FPP). The overall EU budget (JU contribution) for Calls 2022 is € 254.5 million. More about the Calls and submission here.
Xecs Call 2
Opening date: 29 September 2022
Process: two-stage process
Deadline date: 23 February 2023 17:00:00 CET to submit Project Outlines
Deadline for FPP submission: 25 May 2023
The Xecs Call 2 will be launched on 29 September 2022 during the Xecs Call 2 Launch Event. This Call will be guided by the 2022 edition of the ECS Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda and supported by countries across the Eureka network. More about the Call here.
Impact of collaborative projects
Collaborative RD&I is crucial to support the creation of robust innovation ecosystems and create economic and societal impact.
More about ECSEL and PENTA projects impact:
Learn about the TRANSACT ECSEL Project, whose overarching goal is to develop a universal, distributed solution architecture for the transformation of safety-critical cyber-physical systems, from localized stand-alone systems into safe and secure distributed solutions leveraging edge and cloud computing. Project partners from 9 counties worked on the conceptual elements that will drive the development of the envisioned distributed solution and that will be demonstrated through real-world use cases in five relevant business areas: remote operation of autonomous vehicles for navigating in urban environments; critical maritime decision support; cloud-featured battery management systems for electric vehicles; edge-cloud-based clinical applications platform for image-guided therapy and diagnostic imaging systems; critical wastewater treatment decision support. Check out the inspiring use cases of the high-potential societal and economic impacts here.
The ECSEL JU project VALU3S aims to evaluate the state-of-the-art verification and validation (V&V) methods and tools and design a multi-domain framework to create a clear structure around the components and elements needed to conduct the V&V process. The main benefit of it is to reduce the time and cost needed to verify and validate automated systems with respect to safety, cyber-security, and privacy requirements. How is it done? Check out the VALU3S use cases presentation videos to discover.
The 7th Consortium Meeting and General Assembly of held on 17th-18th May 2022 in Spain, where all partners met to discuss the project status and plan the activities for the third and last year. The first session of methods/tools demonstration took place, visit the website to get to know more.
The European Green Deal strives for sustainable mobility and efficient use of resources. The HiEFFICIENT ECSEL project is working towards these goals to develop the next generation of wide-bandgap semiconductors (WBG) for smart mobility. This project unites 33 partners from 9 European countries along the whole value chain, starting from the semiconductors industry and ending up with OEMs. HiEFFICIENT is driven by 10 industrial use cases (UCs), including modular inverters with different voltage levels (such as 48V and 400V), flexible on- and multi-use off-board chargers for different voltage levels, multi-purpose DC/DC converters, and test systems for power electronics’ lifetime testing. The project’s 2nd General Assembly meeting took place in April 2022, giving an overview of the first successful projects year. More about the project and its intermediate results here.
In May 2021 23 European partners from research to industry united their semiconductor and power electronics expertise under the ECSEL project YESvGaN – Wide bandgap power at silicon cost. The ambitious goal of this project is to establish a new class of power transistors based on Gallium Nitride (GaN) which combines the efficiency of wide bandgap semiconductors with the cost benefits of silicon technology. Thanks to the dedication of the YESvGaN partners, there have been impressive developments already in the first year of the project, such as presenting the individual building blocks. In the first project year, the electrical requirements for the vertical GaN power transistors were specified from the point of view of the different target applications. Discover more in the project’s first newsletter and related articles on the project web.
Meeting the needs of medical diagnostics, sustainable agriculture, live TV productions, safety, and security: CAVIAR PENTA project partners are providing the multidomain solution! By bringing together world-class engineering and research skills from across Europe, the project enabled higher imaging performance and new capabilities for these economically and socially important application domains. Project partners have developed image sensors and application demonstrators, including hardware and software algorithms. Discover more in the project impact summary and this video. Get to know how the CAVIAR project improved the viewing excitement for sports fans here and how the project contributed to the agriculture of the future here.
Discover the PENTA ESAIRQ project input to solving the vital problem of air pollution and increasing air quality. Project partners from 6 countries gathered to deliver an affordable air quality sensors solution – technical prototypes for electrochemical gas sensors, micro gas chromatography, smoke and fine particle sensors, photoacoustic detection, special resonant sensors, as well as infrared spectrometer technologies. The developed technologies enable low-power integration of sensors in connected solutions and the setup of services. The miniaturized platforms developed in this project are key enablers for highly sensitive and selective sensor systems or networks for air quality monitoring in Smart Home, smoke and odor detection, as well as the Industrial domain. Get to know more in the Project Impact Summary as well as in this article.
How to make electric drives more intelligent? CosmoDU PENTA Project provided the development for Industry 4.0 Manufacturing. The evolution of machines requires electric drives to actively monitor and adjust their key operational parameters such as speed, direction, and power, in case of performance or environmental changes. CosmoDU has developed the hardware platform for next-generation drive units, where sensors, signal processing, secure communication and control, and power electronics have been directly integrated into the housing of the motor. This new drive unit uses its self-learning capabilities to adjust and improve its performance. Smart drives will enable major electrical energy consumption, with corresponding savings in costs and CO2 emissions. Get to know more with this Project Impact.
ECS Community News
- The successful KDT Kick-off and Brokerage Event took place on 3-4 May 2022 in Brussels. With 25 pitches, 38 posters, and more than 300 visitors, information about the KDT JU calls, and the ECS SRIA, face-to-face networking finally became core business again!
More about the event and its outcomes here.
- AIDOaRt ECSEL JU Project consortium actively organizes the events to increase the project impact and promote research communication. The first AIDoart Hackaton took place on April 13 and 28. 12 teams presented their solutions to the project challenges during the plenary meeting. 52 participants voted for the 2 winners (for the challenge of the Recommendation system for RE and the challenge of Architecture Modeling Pattern) after 3 hours of demonstration. More about this Hackaton, challenges, and winners here.
- The E Lighthouse Symposium, organised by the HELoS project team and Health. E lighthouse liaise, took place on 8-9 March 2022 both in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, and online. During the two days of this Symposium, 12 speakers presented insights into medical device development and innovations. Find out the news on this event on AENEAS web here. Video reportage of this symposium is available here.
- AENEAS offers a variety of services helping its members to benefit from a dynamic RD&I ecosystem and plays a pivotal role in stimulating a higher involvement of SMEs in collaborative projects. Among such possibilities is the AENEAS SME Directory which promotes SMEs expertise. This is a living document that is regularly updated. The latest edition currently includes 62 SMEs. If you want to apply, please send your application to email@example.com