IfM Engage consortium commissioned by UK government to help boost semiconductor sector
IfM Engage consortium has been commissioned by the Department for Science, Innovation & Technology (DSIT) to undertake a study into infrastructure to grow the UK semiconductor industry and a new strategic coordination function for the sector.
Semiconductor technology underpins the modern economy and is vital to UK prosperity and national security. The Department for Science, Innovation & Technology (DSIT) has been leading on a review of the sector and the development of a National Semiconductor Strategy to increase the resilience of the UK supply chain and generate innovation-led economic growth.
To support the upcoming semiconductor strategy, IfM Engage, the knowledge transfer arm of the Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge, has been commissioned to explore the technical and economic feasibility of developing infrastructure to support commercial R&D and a strategic coordination function for the UK semiconductor sector. IfM Engage is supported by strong industrial and academic consortium partners including the CSA Catapult, Techworks NMI, Silicon Catalyst, Photonics Leadership Group, Cambridge Econometrics, Future Horizons, Semiwise, the University of Leeds, and researchers from Imperial College London.
The eight-month study will develop ideas to build on UK strengths in semiconductor design, compound semiconductors and next generation technologies. Five capabilities are being explored - silicon chip production for prototyping/piloting, compound semiconductor foundry, advanced packaging, design tools/IP and a strategic coordination function. Industrial evidence will be gathered to determine the feasibility and requirements of a new national initiative, which will aim to bring the nation’s industry together to tackle shared challenges and help businesses scale up.
The study will assess the most appropriate way to deliver national capabilities that would positively impact the semiconductor industry. This would aim to benefit not just semiconductor companies but also original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and other end users of chips in dependent sectors critical to the future UK economy, such as automotive, AI, telecoms, and quantum.
Dr Nicky Athanassopoulou, Head of Solution Development, IfM Engage, University of Cambridge, said: “IfM Engage will utilise the Strategic roadmapping process (S-Plan) to help collect, analyse and validate data from a large number of relevant stakeholders and multiple perspectives systematically and objectively. This method has been researched extensively by IfM over the past 25 years and has been applied successfully to hundreds of highly complex challenges for government, industry and academia internationally.
“IfM Engage and its strong consortium partners represent some of the most knowledgeable organisations of the semiconductor industry in the UK. Together, we have extensive knowledge of the sector nationally and internationally and can harness this expertise to address this complex problem which has high impact potential.”
David Lott, CEO IfM Engage, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen to support the UK semiconductor industry. We are uniquely positioned to engage both industry and academia in helping to boost jobs and skills to grow the UK’s domestic industry and ensure a reliable supply of semiconductors.”
Charles Sturman, CEO, Techworks, said: “Techworks’ NMI network has supported the UK Semiconductor Industry since our inception 25 years ago. As the voice of UK industry, we are excited to be able to work with our highly respected membership base across the UK and beyond to bring world-class know-how and expertise into this strategically important work.”
Dr Andy G Sellars, Strategic Development Director, CSA Catapult said: “The Catapult is delighted to play a leading role in this project, working closely with the other consortium partners. This is an extremely important and timely study, informing future semiconductor investment priorities with the potential to deliver far-reaching economic and societal impact.”
Ways to take part
There are a number of ways to get invovled if you are a UK company that operates in the semiconductor sector:
Infrastructure User Needs survey – Survey completed
Existing UK infrastructure Facilities survey – Survey closes 19 June 2023
Registration for forthcoming workshops – Taking place in July 2023
The project is led by IfM Engage in collaboration with CSA Catapult, TechWorks NMI, Silicon Catalyst, Photonics Leadership Group, Cambridge Econometrics, Semiwise Ltd, Imperial Consultants, Future Horizons and the University of Leeds.
About IfM Engage
IfM Engage is a knowledge transfer company within the Institute for Manufacturing, with a mission to transfer and integrate world-leading knowledge and solutions to make a lasting difference to the future of manufacturing and the wider ecosystem.
Embedded in the IfM, IfM Engage uses new insights, ideas and approaches emerging from world-leading research across management, technology and policy. Its services are delivered by industrial experts who tailor and combine insights and tools to bring meaningful change across businesses, governments and academic institutions around the world.