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UK Joins EU’s Chip Research Program | Silicon UK Tech News

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UK joins European Union’s chip funding research scheme, pledging £35 million for EU’s ‘Chips Joint Undertaking’

The United Kingdom is to join a European Union semiconductor research funding programme, that will give the UK semiconductor sector access to European funding for chip research purposes.

The government announced that the UK has now joined the EU’s ‘Chips Joint Undertaking’ (Chips JU), and is pledging 35 million pounds ($45 million) to an overall 1.3 billion euro ($1.4 billion) research and innovation fund.

It was back in November 2023 when the European Commission had launched the ‘Chips JU‘, under the European Chips Act.

Chips Joint Undertaking

The idea behind the Chips JU is that it will “reinforce the European semiconductor ecosystem and Europe’s technological leadership.”

It will do this by bridging “the gap between research, innovation and production thereby facilitating the commercialisation of innovative ideas.”

The Chips JU had launched with €1.67 billion of EU funding, which is expected to be matched by funds from member states to reach €3.3 billion, plus additional private funds.

On Wednesday the government announced that “British semiconductor researchers and businesses now have enhanced access to research funding backed by the UK government and Horizon Europe, now the UK has joined the EU’s Chips Joint Undertaking.”

It said the joining the EU scheme provides the UK semiconductor sector enhanced access to a €1.3 billion pot of funds set aside from Horizon Europe to support research in semiconductor technologies up to 2027.

The UK is coughing up £35 million, with an initial £5 million this year from the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology.

An additional £30 million is due to support UK participation in further research between 2025 and 2027.

“Our membership of the Chips Joint Undertaking will boost Britain’s strengths in semiconductor science and research to secure our position in the global chip supply chain,” said technology Minister Saqib Bhatti.

“This underscores our unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of technology and cements our important role in shaping the future of semiconductor technologies around the world,” said Bhatti.

Semiconductor supply chain

It comes after the UK had joined Horizon Europe via a bespoke agreement with the EU last year, as both the UK and European Union seek to secure a domestic semiconductor supply chain, following the chip shortage crisis during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Britain had initially been blocked from participating in Horizon because of disputes over post-Brexit trade rules.

However the Coronavirus pandemic clearly showed the danger of relying chip suppliers in Asia and the United States.

Many countries have implemented plans to ensure domestic chip production.

For example China in September 2023 revealed plans for a state-backed investment fund to raise about $40 billion for its domestic semiconductor sector.

Meanwhile rival state-backed funds such as the $52 billion US Chips Act, and the 43 billion euro European Chip Act, are being used to encourage the building of more chip manufacturing capabilities in their respective locations.

There are similar incentive packages in South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan.

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