TU/e strengthens key semicon position with Future Chips flagship

Photo: Bart van Overbeeke
Photo: Bart van Overbeeke
At TU/e, more than 700 researchers from 25 research groups work on semicon and this number is expected to grow significantly.

In the coming years, TU/e will expand its key position in Dutch academia in the field of semiconductors with its Future Chips flagship. The outcome of Project Beethoven - 2.5 billion in Dutch investments in the chip sector - is an important stimulus for this. With the initiative, the university is giving a boost to the development of chip technology to accelerate the creation of solutions to the major societal, economic and geopolitical challenges in this field.

"There is an urgent need to strengthen the position of the Netherlands and Europe in the global chip sector," explains Rector Magnificus Silvia Lenaerts. "With the Future Chips flagship, we are taking our responsibility, together with our strong industrial and academic partners, to make a maximum contribution to this. Given the enormous expertise that we have had for decades, TU/e is excellently positioned for this. We have a unique collaboration with the semicon companies in the Brainport region, we are the purveyor of engineering talent for these companies, and we are home to top researchers in the relevant research domains."

"The Dutch government’s investment of 2.5 billion euros to facilitate the Dutch chip sector with is a particularly welcome development. 450 million of this is earmarked for talent. We will flesh this out in a regional context, together with Fontys University of Applied Sciences and Summa College, among others," says Robert-Jan Smits, President of the TU/e Executive Board. "This is an investment in the future economic model of the Netherlands and contributes to Europe’s sovereignty agenda. It will act as a booster of our Future Chips flagship, which we will use to build on our strengths in semicon."

TU/e at the forefront of semicon for decades

TU/e has been conducting leading international research in the field of chip technology for over 50 years. This includes not only the development of new types of chips themselves but also research into the hyper-complex chip machines that must deliver increasingly extreme performance and into the materials and processes used to make microchips.

At TU/e, more than 700 researchers from 25 research groups work on semicon and this number is expected to grow significantly. In addition, TU/e has exceptional research labs for semicon, including the large cleanroom of Nanolab@TU/e.

The Future Chips flagship is a strategic collaboration between all’involved groups, centers, institutes and departments of TU/e to accelerate the multidisciplinary development of semicon technology in terms of education, research and valorization. In doing so, the university is emphatically committed to collaboration with its strong partners in the Brainport region and beyond.

Substantial stimulus packages for chip sector

Chips have become vital to the functioning of our society. There are more and more increasingly powerful chips in more and more products and systems. Governments worldwide therefore see semicon knowledge and capabilities as crucial to societal, economic and geopolitical interests.

The major world powers have thus allocated huge stimulus packages to the strengthening of their chip sectors. For example, the European Union launched the European Chips Act in 2022 and, a few weeks ago, the Dutch government decided to invest 2.5 billion in facilities for the Dutch chip sector (Project Beethoven) with the main focus in Brainport. There is a key role here for knowledge institutions because semicon is the world’s most complex industrial sector, and that complexity is only increasing.