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UK joins EU’s Chips Joint Undertaking programme

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The move seeks to facilitate collaboration between the UK and European partners on semiconductor technology, in areas including silicon photonics

The UK has joined the European Union’s Chips Joint Undertaking (Chips JU) programme, which supports research, development, and future manufacturing capacities in the European semiconductor ecosystem.

The UK is now a “Participating State”, allowing the country to collaborate more closely with European partners on semiconductor innovation. As a Participating State, the UK will have a role in setting research priorities and funding decisions as the fund evolves in the years ahead.

This includes the opportunity for the UK to be a part of a new funding opportunity with the Republic of Korea to research ways to combine semiconductor chips to improve performance through advanced packaging – which the UK-Republic of Korea Semiconductor Framework, signed in November last year.

The UK government says that the move 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.

Access to one of the Chips JU’s funds is being backed by an initial £5 million this year from the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, and delivered by Innovate UK. An additional £30 million is due to support UK participation in further research between 2025 and 2027.

British research has been at the forefront of advancing semiconductor technology in fields including silicon photonics, which creates faster chips by using light instead of electricity, and compound semiconductors, which enable improved performance over silicon in key applications such as power transmission and radiofrequency communications.

Jari Kinaret, Chips JU Executive Director, remarked: “We are very happy to welcome the UK to the Chips Joint Undertaking as a participating state. We are looking forward to working with the UK partners to develop the European industrial ecosystem in microelectronics and its applications, contributing to the continent’s scientific excellence and innovation leadership in semiconductor technologies and related fields.”

The UK’s Technology Minister, Saqib Bhatti said: “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. 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.”

Vaysh Kewada, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Salience Labs, a spin-out from the University of Oxford focusing on photonic AI said: “Semiconductors are critical to the UK’s economic and national security. They underpin crucial technologies such as advancement in AI. The UK produces world-leading research in silicon photonics, compound semiconductors and others. This government support is a good step forward to foster growth and to ensure that the UK remains relevant in the critical technologies of tomorrow.”

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