One-Stop-Shop: Microelectronics innovation from fundamental research to pilot products
Since April 2017, Institute XY is part of the Germany-wide Research Fab Microelectronics Germany (FMD). With 13 member institutes and over 2000 active researchers, this research network represents Europe’s largest R&D collaboration for micro- and nanoelectronics.
The investments in FMD are paying off
Within the last two and a half years, successful project ventures have been established and numerous contracts completed in cooperation with the FMD. In 2019, projects with a combined volume of €66.8 million were made possible as a result of investments into the FMD. Pure industry projects accounted for more than €17 million in 2019, underlining the importance of this unique cooperation in German microelectronics research.
FMD – a promising model for major project initiatives
In 2020, the final set-up phase for the Research Fab Microelectronics Germany is being initiated. The innovative concept’s great potential for cross-site cooperation has already been proven e.g. in the »miniLIDAR« project, a major initiative (with a volume of €5.65 million) supported by the FMD’s business office since its launch in late 2019. The project will design miniaturized LiDAR components for robotic applications with the aid of an industry partner actively scouted for and won over by the FMD business office. Four FMD institutes – the Ferdinand Braun Institute FBH in Berlin, the Fraunhofer Institue for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems IMS in Duisburg, the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS in Dresden, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM in Berlin – are involved in the project.
Founders’ dreams come real in the FMD-Space
The start-up support concept FMD-Space – first proposed at the very start of the FMD’s set-up – has continued to make headway in 2019 in several successful pilot projects. Technology-driven start-ups are thus provided efficient and ready access to the technologies and facilities of the member institutes. The enterprising minds behind the start-ups team up with the institutes’ research staff to produce working demonstrators of their product concepts. The services of the FMD-Space are, for instance, being used by the founders of »Ghost - feel it«, the »OQmented GmbH«, and »nxtbase technologies GmbH«. Two further project ideas won their places in the FMD-Space in late 2019: »Quantune Technologies« and »Twenty-One Semiconductors«.
Modernizing the FMD’s facilities at full speed
The FMD vision of successful research and development work happening collaboratively at locations across Germany is supported by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research, with approx. €350 million in funding set aside until late 2020. This investment into the FMD fuels the future viability of applied microelectronics research in Germany. Practically, this primarily takes the form of updated and modernized research facilities at the 13 participating institutes from the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and Leibniz Association. By the end of 2019, 157 new pieces of equipment have already been delivered and are, in the main, already up and running – a great step forward in substantially expanding the institutes’ technological capabilities.