Cluster for application and technology research on nanoelectronics

Co-operative r&d public private partnership for large companies, smes, institutes and universities aiming at precompetitive innovations in semiconductor technology and applications thus ensuring europe's leadership in major technological domains and giving solutions to an ever changing society.

IMPORTANCE OF ELECTRONICS AND SEMICONDUCTOR INDUSTRY FOR SOCIETY Electronics and information systems play an ever increasing role in the worldwide economy, representing already today nearly 10% of gross domestic product (GDP). They have penetrated and transformed all aspects of life - including transportation, communications, health, government services, banking systems, entertainment and education - and have created millions of jobs in industry and services. They have also been the motor of productivity growth. Micro- and nano-electronics are the key enabling technologies for electronics and information and communication technology (ICT) and, as a consequence, the semiconductor market is increasing at double the rate of GDP growth. Information technologies and electronics have played a major and critical role for innovation: ICT patents account for more than 85% of all high-tech patents in Europe, the U.S.A. and JAPAN. In the foreseeable future, the role of electronics and information systems will further increase as European society is faced with structural problems such as ageing of the population, exploding healthcare costs, transportation bottlenecks, rising energy costs and the need to increase productivity to be competitive on a worldwide basis. European citizens are expecting better health systems, safer cars, improved energy management, improved telecommunications and information access, better entertainment and security everywhere. These societal challenges are also major opportunities for European industry. The challenge is to be the first to address the new lead markets and to become worldwide market leaders in a number of these domains. ECONOMICS OF ICT INNOVATION To make these new products and services affordable for the population at large, strong progress in nano-electronics in terms of costs and integration is necessary. Indeed, the growth of the ICT industry is mostly based on strong and steady technological progress in semiconductors - doubling of performance every two years, and 40% reduction in price per function each year - supported by a very high level of R&D, nearly 20% of sales. In the past decades, this technological progress has lowered the cost of a large number of products and services, making them available to the population at large. Therefore the contribution of the micro- and nano-electronics industry goes well beyond its GDP numbers. Leadership in new markets is strongly related to leadership in micro- and nano-electronics. This requires a high level of R&D and also major investments in infrastructure. In recognising this fact and the key role of this industry, public authorities in all regions of the world are providing different types of financial support to these industries. These increasing costs also make it impossible for most companies to maintain technology leadership on a stand-alone basis: co-operation is more and more cross-border and not limited to R&D. A COMPETITIVE PLACE FOR EUROPEAN INDUSTRIES Over the past decade, the European semiconductor industry has been able to reinforce its position through very large R&D efforts at all levels of the value chain. These efforts have been supported by public authorities both at the national and European level. As far as cross-border co-operation is concerned, the EUREKA JESSI, MEDEA and MEDEA+ programmes have been particularly effective in developing links between European companies and public research institutes. However, the level of funding for these programmes has remained flat and has not followed the evolution of total R&D effort. Overall public funding for R&D in semiconductors is about a third of the average funding ratio for European industry. A real weakness is also the fact that, despite very good positions in telecommunications and automotive markets, European industry is almost completely absent from the computer sector. Overall, the rate of innovation in ICT is significantly lower with 40% less ICT patent applications made to the European Patent Office by the EU-25 than by the U.S.A. or JAPAN. At the same time, public authorities in Europe are underinvesting in ICT use. They represent only 20% of the ICT market, while taking about 45% of GDP. It is clear that these market and technology trends will continue at least for another decade. A large part of the success in innovation resides in the speed of converting technology to solutions for the final customer: a proactive innovation model must be deployed all along the value chain, closely linking technology challenges and market needs. There is also no doubt that investment efforts, particularly in R&D, will have to increase, maintaining the same very high level of R&D to sales. PUBLIC SUPPORT MUST BE CONTINUED AND DEVELOPED FOR EUROPEAN PROJECTS Public support for R&D must be increased to follow these increasing costs and also to catch up with competitors. In particular, for the sake of efficiency in use of public money and because the first targeted market is Europe as a whole, cross-border programmes will become structurally more and more important. The proposed CATRENE programme reflects all of the above. It embraces all key actors in the value chain - including application, technology, material and equipment suppliers - as well as involving both large companies and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) around a number of market opportunities and societal challenges (lighthouse projects). This new organisation reflects the increased importance of this industry but is also in line with a number of trends towards greater focus existing in national programmes. At the same time, CATRENE intends to keep the strong points of its predecessors in terms of efficiency and flexibility and strong involvement of public authorities. Given its importance, it will interact with other programmes in the nano-electronics field - national, EU Framework and Joint Technical Initiatives (JTI) – and with other EUREKA clusters such as ITEA2, EURIPIDES and CELTIC. CATRENE is a four-year programme extendable to eight years, starting 1 January 2008; this is in line with both the present view on technology evolution and the time span over which most of the major applications will develop. Resources required will be annually around 4,000 person-years, equalling about 3 billion euro for the first four years (about 6 billion euro for the extended programme). THE VISION OF THE CATRENE PROGRAMME IS: Technology leadership for a competitive European ICT industry Keywords: Nano-/Microelectronics, ICT, Systems Applications.
Project ID: 
4 140
Start date: 
Project Duration: 
Project costs: 
5 000 000 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.