The Govern presents the Strategy to Promote the Semiconductor Industry in Catalonia
The event was chaired by the Minister of Enterprise and Labor, Roger Torrent i Ramió; the Minister of Economy and Finance, Natàlia Mas Guix, and the Minister of Research and Universities, Joaquim Nadal i Farreras. This initiative is promoted by the Semiconductor and Chip Alliance of Catalonia, which is formed by several departments of the Generalitat, companies and research and innovation agents; of which Luis Fonseca, as director of the Institute of Microelectronics of Barcelona, is a member.
Read the original press release at Govern.cat.
The Government of Catalonia has presented this Wednesday the Strategy for the Promotion of the Semiconductor Industry in Catalonia with the aim of consolidating Catalonia as one of the reference poles of the semiconductor industry in Europe. The event was chaired by the Minister of Business and Employment, Roger Torrent i Ramió; the Minister of Economy and Finance, Natàlia Mas Guix, and the Minister of Research and Universities, Joaquim Nadal i Farreras.
This initiative is promoted by the Semiconductor and Chip Alliance of Catalonia, which is formed by several departments of the Generalitat, companies and research and innovation agents. The document is an action plan that should enable value-added industrial policies and support initiatives that, within the framework of the Alliance, have a decisive impact on improving the competitiveness of the semiconductor industry in Catalonia. Both the Semiconductor Alliance and the Board of the Semiconductor and Chip Alliance of Catalonia include Luis Fonseca, in his capacity as director of the Institute of Microelectronics of Barcelona (IMB-CNM, CSIC).
As a member of the Board, Fonseca represented IMB-CNM at the event. The presentation was followed by an exchange of ideas "where the IMB-CNM proposal to dedicate efforts to transfer the benefits of semiconductor technologies and applications to society in a didactic way was taken up. It is a matter of visibility and social recognition and thus ensure the generation of talent in the long term", adds Fonseca.
Pacte Nacional per a la Indústria 2022-2025
The initiative is part of the National Pact for Industry 2022-2025, approved in the fall of 2022, which already includes the preparation of a strategic plan for the development and attraction of investment for semiconductor manufacturing and the desire to position Catalonia internationally as a hub of knowledge, economic activity and infrastructure related to the chip sector. It is also in line with the priority of the National Pact for the Knowledge Society to support strategic projects in order to expand training capacity in an industry where highly specialized talent is one of its cornerstones.
The strategy is divided into five strategic axes, which are absolutely in line with the pillars of boosting the industry both at European level and in other leading countries in the industry, such as the USA, with a total of 23 specific actions:
- First axis. Boosting the ecosystem and reinforcing the players in the value chain: The objective is to support and reinforce the existing players in the semiconductor ecosystem in Catalonia (local and foreign companies established along the entire value chain, academia, research centers and technology centers) so that they can grow and be competitive on a global scale, with existing support tools and the creation of new ones when necessary.
- Second axis. International positioning and attracting investment: The Alliance is working to strengthen Catalonia's international positioning. This will be done through international alliances, at European level, especially the European Semiconductor Regions Alliance - ESRA) and seeking to be a key player in projects derived from the European Chips Act and the NextGen - Perte Chips funds or initiatives such as Chips for Europe Joint Undertaking.
- Third axis. Infrastructure: In this point, priority is given to the creation and provision of state-of-the-art infrastructures available to companies and oriented to give an agile and ad hoc response to the needs of the local industry and the research field, to facilitate the confluence of both worlds and in both directions. Innofab's project to build a prototyping plant for chips based on emerging materials stands out.
- Fourth axis. Talent: Catalonia aspires to be an international semiconductor hub and, therefore, must also aspire to become a hub for talent in this field. In this regard, the implementation of an inter-university master's degree in Semiconductor Engineering and Microelectronic Design and the application of the Industrial Doctorate Plan for companies in the field of chips stand out. It is also planned to work on complementary initiatives both to generate and attract talent.
- Fifth axis. Technology transfer: The challenge is to achieve effective collaboration between research and business to add value to knowledge in Catalonia in the field of semiconductors and as a foundation for the competitiveness of companies. At this point, the creation of a spin-off generation plan and the recently approved Strategic Plan for Innovation and Knowledge Transfer stand out.
The semiconductor ecosystem in Catalonia
According to data from the study 'Els semiconductors a Catalunya' by ACCIÓ, there are currently 86 companies in the semiconductor sector employing 700 people. These workers are in addition to the 3,700 researchers involved in research projects in the field of semiconductors, so that this ecosystem is already made up of 4,400 professionals in Catalonia. According to the ACCIÓ report, 81% of the companies in the sector in Catalonia are SMEs (and 8% are startups), while 37% have an annual turnover of more than 10 million euros.
It is in this context that the Semiconductor Alliance takes relevance, to become both the entity of communication and coordination between the different agents of the ecosystem and as an instance to promote the above initiatives or others that may appear as indispensable in the near future, for the promotion of this industry both clearly relevant in itself and for its impact on the digital and social transformation of other sectors and the country.
All companies and agents of this industry in Catalonia are encouraged to be part of it and to get involved both from the identification of challenges and needs and from the sharing of ideas and opportunities, and ultimately, the industry is encouraged to continue generating ecosystem in a choral and constructive way.