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UK Semiconductor Institute launches with £1B backing for sector growth

A brand new independent UK Semiconductor Institute will for the first time bring together government, universities and the private sector to support key components of the government’s Semiconductor Strategy to grow the sector, which is backed by £1 billion.

Our aim is that in the future the Institute will be established as an independent organisation tasked with making sure chip researchers have the tools and infrastructure needed to drive their work forward in these focus areas and convert their innovation into market-ready products, subject to final checks.

As further international semiconductor agreements are made, the Institute will also act as a coordinated entry point for technology businesses and international partners who want to work with the UK semiconductor sector to boost innovation, research and commercialisation.

Technology Minister Saqib Bhatti said:
Semiconductors underpin all the technology that keeps our economy moving. Our strategy set out that we would grow the sector and make it resilient by focussing on what the British chip sector does best.

Building on the early success of the strategy, the UK Semiconductor Institute will unify the semiconductor sector to focus our talented researchers on securing our status at the cutting edge of semiconductor science. This is a hugely significant milestone on our journey to becoming a science and tech superpower by 2030.

Building on a key focus of the Semiconductor Advisory Panel, the Institute will also bring industry together to boost the specialist skills needed to help grow the sector. This will build on £4.8 million of backing for eleven skills programmes across the UK announced earlier this year.

Announced one year on from the launch of the National Semiconductor Strategy, the Institute will set its key focus areas in line with those identified by the Strategy, which identified British strengths in compound chips, design and research and development.

Since the launch of the Semiconductor Strategy, the government has launched ChipStart, a pilot incubator for start-ups the technical and business help they need to help bring new products to market, and invested £22 million in two Innovation and Knowledge Centres in Bristol and Southampton to help bring new UK chip technologies to the global market.

The UK has also secured access to Horizon Europe’s €1.3 billion Chips Joint Undertaking and made sure the UK Infrastructure Bank can invest its £22 billion of financial capacity into semiconductor manufacturers. This enabled the Bank’s £60 million contribution to Pragmatic’s latest funding round.

After extensive industry engagement, the creation of the UK Semiconductor Institute is a major step towards implementing the UK Semiconductor Infrastructure Initiative, which was announced in the National Semiconductor Strategy in 2023. It was a key recommendation in a report commissioned by DSIT from the Institute for Manufacturing and has the support of the Semiconductor Advisory Panel.

Jalal Bagherli, co-chair of the Semiconductor Advisory Panel said:

I believe the creation of the Semiconductor Institute is a very positive step in advancing the UK semiconductor strategy. The institute concept featured strongly in the IFM consultative study and it is seen as an effective way to create long term momentum for our industry, help in engaging international partners and attracting investment in the sector.

Martin McHugh, CEO at CSA Catapult said:
We’re delighted to see the formation of the UK Semiconductor Institute, which will bring together government, academia and industry to help secure areas of world-leading strength in semiconductor technologies of the future.

The UK Semiconductor Institute will ensure the UK has a strategic and coordinated approach to developing new technologies, improving skills and exploiting areas in which the UK has existing strengths.

One of these strengths is compound semiconductors and we look forward to working closely with the UK Semiconductor Institute to further the advancement of this critical technology that will accelerate our route to Net Zero through electrification and provide a secure and resilient telecoms network for the future.

David Moore, CEO of Pragmatic said:
We were delighted to complete the largest European semiconductor venture raise in December 2023, co-led by UK Infrastructure Bank and M&G, with 70% of the round coming from UK investors. This funding will accelerate continued expansion of our manufacturing capacity in the Northeast of England taking volume from billions of flexible integrated circuits (FlexICs) to tens of billions per year.

As a UK-based semiconductor company, servicing a global customer base, we welcome efforts to provide access to technology to foster the growth of emerging businesses, drive the expansion of the sector talent pool and promote international partnerships. The institute represents a significant opportunity for building out new infrastructure in support of areas where the UK can lead on the global stage, including advanced materials and disruptive, new approaches to semiconductor manufacturing at scale.

Julian David, CEO of techUK, said:
The establishment of a UK Semiconductor Institute is welcomed by techUK and other members of the Chips Coalition, including Global Tech Advocates and TechWorks. We have worked with UK government to develop the National Semiconductor Strategy and we look forward to turning that strategy into action.

We are confident that this Institute will serve as an authoritative and empowered body. By bringing together government, universities and the private sector, the Institute will be pivotal in advancing R&D, skills development, and fostering international collaboration. This collaboration will secure a robust and innovative future for the UK’s semiconductor landscape.

The Chips Coalition looks forward to continuing to engage with the government in this endeavour and to witnessing the positive impact this Institute will have on the UK’s growth.

Charlie Sturman, Techworks, said:
Semiconductor technology is the single most important component of all transformative technologies such as AI, telecommunications, quantum and electrification. As economic success becomes more dependent on semiconductors, it is crucial that the UK develops a long-term vision and strategy from research into commercial product and supportive partnerships with international partners to enable homegrown innovation to become global success stories. As the UK trade body for Deep Tech and Semiconductors, Techworks is pleased to support the formation of this institute as a critical step in this direction.

Janet Collyer, Senior Independent Director at EnSilica, Independent NED at the Aerospace Technology Institute, Chair of the Board at Quantum Dice and at Machine Discovery, said:

I am delighted to support the independent UK Semiconductor Institute. It will provide a welcome UK focal point of support for semiconductor companies at all stages of their growth.

This capability is particularly important in the key areas of attracting diverse talent to the sector, accelerating production revenue by shortening the transition from lab innovation to production volume manufacture – ‘the Lab to Fab’ – and securing ongoing investment on schedule for timely national expansion during the scale-up phase.

CT Bureau

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