The EU has approved a €8.1 billion government aid package to boost chip development and strengthen the Union’s microelectronics and communications sectors.
Funding is provided as part of “Important Projects of Common European Interest” (IPCEI) – an initiative that facilitates access to public funds.
The IPCEI will implement 68 projects in 14 member states: Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Poland, Romania, Spain and Slovakia.
A total of 56 companies will be involved – from big players like Airbus and ASML to startups and SMEs – as well as over 30 associated partners in five other member states.
The projects aim to research and develop “resource efficient technologies and components” including chips, sensors and processors; new materials and tools; and chip design and manufacturing processes.
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“Microchips are the backbone of Europe’s innovation and industrial competitiveness in a digital world,” said Margrethe Vestager, Vice-President in charge of competition policy. “We have to be pioneers and develop really innovative solutions and their first industrial use in Europe.”
The IPCEI aims to harness upcoming technologies for the advancement of multiple sectors, including 5G and 6G telecom, autonomous driving, AI and quantum computing.
The first products may come to market as early as 2025, but overall project completion is expected in 2032. By then, the IPCEI hopes to have unlocked another €13.7 billion in private investment, bringing the total impact to €22 billion.
Meanwhile, the EU is finalizing its chips law with the goal of boosting domestic production of semiconductor chips and capturing at least 20% of the world market share by 2030.