Professor Albert Heuberger: Chip design is the key to Europe’s technological sovereignty

28.9.2022 | Statement Professor Albert Heuberger, director Fraunhofer IIS

Chip design is central to Europe’s innovative power. Semiconductors are a key industry and the basis for digitalization. In the process of getting from the idea to the finished chip, it is chip design that turns requirements into functionality and thus shapes product innovations. Fraunhofer IIS plays a major role in this. Our successful research enables companies to use integrated circuits. That way, we strengthen industries such as automotive, medical engineering and IT as well as small, medium-sized and large suppliers and service providers that are heavily dependent on microelectronic components. 


Setting the European agenda with the European Chips Act

Strengthening Europe’s technological sovereignty in semiconductors and chips is hugely important for the continent as a whole. To this end, the European Commission presented a new legislative package in 2022 – the European Chips Act – which aims to mobilize 43 billion euros in public and private investment to expand Europe’s leadership role in microelectronics research. The goal is to increase production capacity to 20 percent of the global market by 2030 by building new factories, to attract and train new experts and to grow and expand Europe’s innovative power in the design, manufacturing and packaging of state-of-the-art chips.

The state of Bavaria, too, is ready to embark on this journey. With the currently planned Bavarian Chip Design Center, which should involve several Fraunhofer Institutes including Fraunhofer IIS, Bavaria is on its way to becoming one of Germany’s and Europe’s leading high-tech centers in chip design. In 2021, Minister of Economic Affairs Hubert Aiwanger launched the Bavarian Chip Alliance, which encompasses the Chip Design Center as well as a semiconductor alliance and efforts to strengthen experts, promote technology and assist companies in finding and establishing a location.

Major strategic projects are creating an important network

We can count on a strong network. With the Research Fab Microelectronics Germany (FMD), the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the Leibniz Association have created the largest cross-location R&D consortium for micro- and nanoelectronics in Europe. Based on scientific excellence, FMD is continuously developing its technological portfolio, which it turns into innovations. Since 1999, the Fraunhofer Group for Microelectronics, an alliance of eleven Fraunhofer Institutes, has been offering new technologies and cross-technology overall solutions up to a high level of technological maturity from a single source.

Fraunhofer IIS is leading the way in chip design with numerous projects. As a renowned research institute, Fraunhofer IIS brings together Europe’s greatest minds in the field of integrated circuit design. We offer qualified training and education and create incentives to attract experts. Here, they find an ideal professional environment for realizing ideas and turning them into products.

With this ecosystem, we can create long-term independence and data security and do our bit for economic stability and sovereignty.


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