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“Silicon Germany” takes initiative for a strong German microelectronics sector

Chip production at Globalfoundries in Dresden.
Chip production at Globalfoundries in Dresden.

Economy, science and politics are bundling their power for a strong German microelectronics sector: the work group ‘Silicon Germany’ was established in the course of the Semicon Europa. This reputable committee is headed by Saxon’s Minister of Science Sabine von Schorlemer, also responsible for the Saxon technology policy as well as by the former Infineon chairman Peter Bauer.  

As Minister Schorlemer points out: “With ‘Silicon Germany’ account shall be taken of the pleasant fact that more and more national players from economy and science have joined our circle.” Members of the committee are among others: Silicon Saxony e. V., Globalfoundries, Infineon, X-Fab, NXP, Bosch, T-Systems, SAP, Intel, ZMDI, ZVEI, TU Dresden as well as Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. For the first time, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research was taking part in the meeting too, represented by its head of the department key technologies.

The committee’s name reminds of the fact that this group has emerged from the regional work group microelectronics which had been established prior to the IT summit meeting 2010 in Dresden. It advocates a strengthening of the Saxon and nation-wide microelectronics sector as a key technology for the entire German economy. Micro and nanoelectronics represent the key factors for a state-of-the-art production. Smart chips and appropriate software are increasingly taking over control processes in an era of ‘Industry 4.0’.Machine and plant engineering, environmental and medical engineering as well as automotive manufacture could not be imagined without micro and nanoelectronics any longer.

For more than three years now, the work group emphasizes the vital role of the microelectronics sector and ICT for a major part of the German industries. According to its members, it needs more than recognizing microelectronics to be a key technology for Germany and Europe. Measures to be taken are the creation of a more favorable investment climate by fair global competition as well as the advancement of cooperation in research, development and with pilot lines. Only thus a sustainable success and a significant growth of the European semiconductor industry can be achieved.

These basic positions are now being amended and worked on within ‘Silicon Germany’ to provide assistance for the creation of a national microelectronics strategy. The work group is thus aiming at meeting the demands posed by the user industries.

It is of pivotal interest to the work group to support the Federal Government to react to the initiative “10/100/20” initiated by the European Commission in May 2013. The EU has long been aware of the significance of the microelectronics industry. Within the scope of the strategy “Horizon 2020” its objective is to strengthen the European semiconductor industry and to double its capacity until 2020. By that year, Europe ought to have regained a 20 per cent market share of the global chip production.

As Peter Bauer, former chairman of Infineon Technologies AG and one of the presidents of ‘Silicon Germany’ highlights: “Germany has available outstanding system expertise in global growth sectors. With this at our disposal, we are able to secure an enormous future competitive advantage with regard to ICT and microelectronics. Therefore, we are required to closely link research, development and industrial production spatially and topically. Silicon Germany is going to contribute to the expansion and support of this network.”

The Free State of Saxony with ‘Silicon Saxony’ as the largest European microelectronics cluster has already supported the industry to the best of its ability. As Schorlemer underlines: “In order to sustainably ensure a powerful German microelectronics industry and thus make Germany an influential economic location, it needs assistance across Federal States and industries. The German economy may only remain competitive with an energy efficient and safe microelectronics sector ‘Made in Germany’. Partners of ‘Silicon Germany’ will be available contact partners for the Federal Government when it comes to developing a national strategy for the German microelectronics industry.”

Image: Globalfoundries