Harnessing the Industry’s Power in the EU

Harnessing the Industry’s Power in the EU

By Heinz Kundert, SEMI Europe President

Although the semiconductor industry has shown a stunning rebound, structural issues in Europe are still a challenge. While most semiconductor device manufacturers as well as equipment and material suppliers in Europe show solid performance, Europe’s position compared to other regions has not improved and additional actions are required to capitalize on Europe’s strengths towards sustainable growth and prosperity.

Based on several industry papers (including the SEMI White Paper which presents six recommendations for a more competitive semiconductor industry in Europe), the European Commission has now launched a Key Enabling Technologies (KET) initiative. The initial step is to draft a pan-European strategic direction for advanced technologies like semiconductors, nanotechnology, advanced materials, biotechnology and photonics. These KET’s play an important role in the R&D, innovation and cluster strategies of many industries and the technologies are regarded as critical to ensure the competitiveness of European industries. While Europe has very good research and development capabilities, it hasn’t always been as successful in translating research results into commercialised manufactured goods and services.

To further promote KETs, the European Commission appointed the High-Level Group (HLG) which will address measures to improve Europe’s competitiveness. The HLG includes 27 individuals who represent the European Industry and who have an interest in keeping Europe competitive in leading-edge technology and manufacturing. Eight out of the 27 members have a semiconductor and/or photovoltaic background and will make sure that tangible results will come out of this HLG by the end of the year. Representatives of the HLG include executives from SOITEC, Umicore, Applied Materials, Infineon, STMicroelectronics, Intel, CEA, Fraunhofer, and VTT. The full list is available on the EC website. The interests of the SEMI membership will be represented by our SEMI International and European Board Member André-Jacques Auberton-Hervé, CEO and President of SOITEC.

SEMI will be instrumental in supporting this HLG and defending the interests of our members in the semiconductor and photovoltaic sectors. We will also continue to communicate the results of the HLG as we support the implementation of measures which help our members move towards growth and prosperity.

SEMI is making changes in Europe too. To increase our scope of service in Southern Europe, SEMI acquired partner JEMI France and opened the SEMI Europe Grenoble Office. The operational activities moved from the SEMI office in Brussels to the office opened in January in Berlin. The SEMI office in Brussels concentrates now on public policy and industry advocacy while the office in Moscow continues to support our members in the growing Russian market. The net effect is that SEMI will be closer to its members and customers for more effective collective support.

Based on the upturn and the challenges in our market segments, do not miss participating in Intersolar Europe (June 9-11), SEMICON Russia (June 15-16) and SEMICON Europa (Oct. 19-21). This year’s programs reflect the upturn, new manufacturing opportunities and extensive networking.

SEMI supports the industry, working to increase competitiveness and manufacturing in Europe. We help build a collective identity for our industry through standards, research, events, EHS and public policy.

We welcome your suggestions on how we can better serve our members. Please do not hesitate to visit us in one of our offices. We are looking forward to working with you and offering added value. Email me at hkundert@semi.org.

Heinz Kundert

May 6, 2010