EU Approves €21 Billion Regional IPCEI Microelectronics Project That Includes a Graphene-related Startup

EU Approves €21 Billion Regional IPCEI Microelectronics Project That Includes a Graphene-related Startup

The European Commission has announced the approval of the second Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) for microelectronics with 68 projects spending up to €21 billion. This ICPEI will focus on energy efficient technologies, from sensors and microprocessors to 5G, automotive and graphene-based networking technology.

“The green and digital transitions require new, advanced technological solutions,” said Margrethe Vestager, commissioner for competition. “This is why we must increase the Europe’s own chips research, development and production capabilities. We need to be pioneers and develop truly innovative solutions and their first industrial deployment in Europe.”

The current IPCEI was jointly prepared and notified by 14 Member States – Austria, Czechia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Spain a year ago, and they will provide up to €8.1 billion in public funding, which is expected to unlock another €13.7bn of private investments.

Many of the projects have been announced. 56 companies across the European Union, including small and medium-sized enterprises and also a few start-ups, are part of 68 projects, making it the  largest IPCEI out of the six approved in the region. The project will also enable a wider ecosystem, enabling more than 30 associated participants. These include universities, research organizations and company projects across Europe. This wider IPCEI ecosystem brings in Norway and five additional Member States – Belgium, Hungary, Latvia, Portugal, and Slovenia which will grant aid under the General Block Exemption Regulation.

This IPCEI aims at enabling research and development of innovative and resource-efficient technologies and components. They are chips, processors and sensors that can be integrated in a large set of downstream applications and industries.

The projects focus on four interconnected workstreams:

1. The first workstream “Sense” will focus on developing novel sensors able to collect relevant analogue signals from our environment and translate them into digital data. Vigo, a Polish SME, will develop sensors in highly compact integrated circuits, replacing the current complex and large systems.

2. The second workstream “Think” will work on the “brain” of microelectronic systems, namely processors and memory chips. They will enable the processing and storing of the data gathered in a secure and efficient way. For example, an unnamed German startup is expected to make the data transfer between chips 10 to 100 times faster than today using graphene.

3. The third workstream “Act” will focus on the “muscles” of the microelectronic systems. New designs and innovative materials for highly efficient and performant components will be developed for a wide range of applications. For example, Continental Romania will develop a new electronic brake system, moving away from the standard hydraulic system, to smart, electromechanically operated brakes, working independently on each wheel.

4. The fourth workstream “Communicate” will work to deliver novel technologies necessary for rapid, secure and reliable communication that has been processed under the “Think” workstream. The Air!5G project by AIRBUS in France, will develop 5G capabilities that will allow to make calls or use data on the phone while on flights. 5G capabilities will also ensure connectivity in a critical situation, like earthquakes, where communications lines otherwise can be cut.

“We have ensured that aid is limited to the amount necessary for the project actually to go ahead. And in addition, large beneficiaries will return part of the aid received if their projects turn out to be more profitable than foreseen. We call this a claw-back mechanism,” she said. “We [also] made sure that the innovative results of the project will be widely shared beyond the companies and the  countries that are part of the IPCEI. This will happen through conferences, publications, access to pilot facilities and testing kits or licensing of intellectual property rights.”

The Commission is actively cooperating with Member States on four other upcoming IPCEIs covering health, cloud and hydrogen. “We know that Member States are currently in the process of designing IPCEIs for other key technologies,” she said.

Read the original article on Graphene-Info.