ATU partners with Tyndall and Ulster University to explore economic opportunities of EU Chips Act

5 October 2023

On 18 September at the Atlantic Technological University (ATU) campus in Letterkenny, Ireland, a multi-stakeholder event spearheaded by ATU, in partnership with Tyndall National Institute and Ulster University (UU), explored the economic opportunities presented by the newly adopted EU Chips Act.

Recent semiconductor supply chain disruptions have led to a critical supply shortage, exposing Europe’s over-reliance on imports. Through the Chips Act, designed to boost self-sufficiency, the European Union aims to double its current global market share to 20% by 2030.

Using case studies and panel conversations, ‘NW of Ireland and the Opportunity in the Global Semiconductor Value Chain’ brought together business leaders, policymakers, academia and elected officials to explore how Ireland can position itself as a leader in photonics and semiconductor research and manufacturing while simultaneously addressing the deficits in high-value employment and research infrastructure in the Northwest of Ireland. Industry representatives in attendance included Eblana Photonics, Cirdan, Yelo, Causeway Sensors, Allstate, Kelsius, Firecomms, and Nuprint.

During the event, invitees could engage with speakers and international experts who shared their knowledge and expertise including Dr Wyn Meredith, chair of the South Wales Compound Semiconductor Cluster, and Valerie Moreau of the Laval Mayenne Technopole in France.

“This cross-border initiative unites universities, research institutes and industry across Ireland to catalyse research, develop new technologies, drive productivity, create jobs, increase STEM diversity, and strengthen the regional economy,” says ATU president Dr Orla Flynn. “With the generous support of stakeholders including the IDA [Ireland’s foreign direct investment agency], Enterprise Ireland, local authorities, and industry partners, this consortium has the potential to play a pivotal role in boosting the competitiveness of the semiconductor industry across the island of Ireland,” he believes.

“This is an exciting knowledge exchange opportunity to further cooperation between third-level institutions in the Northwest,” comments professor Liam Maguire, pro vice-chancellor Research at UU, who highlights how the collaborative provision of cross-border education could significantly boost the regional semiconductor talent pool. “Through collaborative research and development initiatives, as well as training and education programs, we can support resilient semiconductor supply chains that foster innovation and investment into our communities through an inclusive workforce,” he adds.

Speaking on behalf of the Smart Nano NI cluster, led by data storage company Seagate Technology, Matt Johnson, senior VP wafer process engineering and systems, commented: “This new all-island collaboration will complement the Smart Nano NI cluster in developing advanced prototyping and smart manufacturing technologies across Northern Ireland. Key to success will be the combined expertise of our companies and the advancement of talent and research infrastructure. We are delighted to be involved in this exciting project which has the potential to put the border region on the global map for semiconductor technology,” he adds.

“The recent adoption of the EU Chips Act presents a unique and timely opportunity for Ireland to bolster its leadership in semiconductors and photonics,” reckons Tyndall’s CEO professor William Scanlon. “Ireland must act now to build on its well-established strategic advantages in the sector, and mobilizing public–private R&D partnerships to lead and leverage cumulative expertise is critical for our future economic success,” he adds. “Our alliance with ATU and UU represents a significant step forward in our ongoing efforts to accelerate north-south research and innovation in support of a diverse and growing, internationally competitive semiconductor industry.”

Tags: Tyndall





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