Today, the Horizon 2020 project COREnect has brought together leading experts and policy makers from the telecom and microelectronic sectors in a policy workshop to present its strategic Research and Innovation (R&I) roadmap. The roadmap outlines strategic actions in three focus areas: Compute & Store, Connect & Communicate, and Sense & Power.
The digital transformation of industry creates massive demand for digital components. Communications, including mobile handsets and network infrastructure, represent about 31% of the global demand for semiconductors and the trend is growing. The domain of electronics components and chipsets for telecommunications is attracting very strong industrial and political interest, especially in areas where data, microelectronics and connectivity meet. Europe has a leading position in the global connectivity infrastructure market, while at the same time has strong dependencies on chipset vendors from outside the European Union.
The European Chips act sets the target for Europe to reach 20% of the global market share of chips production in 2030 with a specific focus on the current low market share of 4% in chips for telecoms. The COREnect roadmap is based on an in-depth analysis of this challenge in light of strategic trends and potential business opportunities in the areas of future connectivity and microelectronics. Conclusions cover a range of short, medium and long-term key strategic actions to address the challenges and opportunities across the 3 focus areas.
- developing talent pools in specific fields;
- ecosystem development with user communities;
- design and production capacities in selected areas;
- large-scale R&I actions.
The strategic findings and recommendations will serve as key input for the work programme definition and future actions of the Smart Networks and Services (SNS) and the future Chips Joint Undertakings in the area of Chips for 6G.
As a first result the relevant industry associations of the two Joint Undertakings (6GIA and AENEAS) have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (add link to press release) to jointly address these common challenges.
With the aim of reinforcing European strength in microelectronics and connectivity, the EU has launched major initiatives in the last months. The proposal for a European Chips Act, adopted by the Commission in early 2022, has the objective to bolster Europe’s competitiveness and resilience in semiconductor technologies and applications, and help achieve both the digital and green transition.
In close collaboration between the Commission, Member States and key European industry players, a new Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) on microelectronics was proposed, covering the areas of communication networks, mobility and industrial automation. In addition, 2 European Partnerships, taking the form of Horizon Europe Joint Undertakings (JU), were launched in December 2021: the Key Digital Technology (KDT) JU and the Smart Networks and Service (SNS) JU. The proposed Chips Act significantly increased the scope and ambition of KDT, renaming KDT JU to Chips JU.