New independent institute to drive UK semiconductor innovation and support semiconductor strategy

  • a new independent institute will be tasked with building on the government’s £1 billion strategy to grow the semiconductor sector
  • with independence from government, the Institute will promote the voice of the industry
  • The new body will be the single point of contact to promote the sector to investors and attract foreign investment in UK research expertise

A brand new, independent UK Semiconductor Institute will bring together government, universities and the private sector for the first time to support key components of the government’s semiconductor strategy to grow the sector, which is backed by £1 billion.

Our goal is that in the future the Institute will be established as an independent organization to ensure that chip researchers have the tools and infrastructure necessary to advance their work in these focus areas and translate their innovation into market-ready products, subject to final checks.

As further international semiconductor deals are signed, the Institute will also act as a coordinated entry point for technology companies and international partners looking to work with the UK semiconductor sector to drive innovation, research and commercialization.

Technology Minister Saqib Bhatti said:

Semiconductors form the basis of all the technology that keeps our economy moving. Our strategy was to grow the sector and make it resilient by focusing on what the UK chip sector does best.

Building on the early success of the strategy, the UK Semiconductor Institute will unite the semiconductor sector to focus our talented researchers on securing our status at the cutting edge of semiconductor science. This is a hugely important milestone on our journey to become a scientific and technological superpower by 2030.

Building on a key focus of the Semiconductor Advisory Panel, the Institute will also bring the industry together to drive the specialist skills needed to help the sector grow. This will build on £4.8 million of support for eleven skills schemes across the UK announced earlier this year.

Announced a year after the launch of the National Semiconductor Strategy, the Institute will align its key areas of focus with those identified by the Strategy, which identified the UK’s strengths in composite chips, design and research and development.

Since the launch of the Semiconductor Strategy, the Government has launched ChipStart, a pilot incubator for start-ups that need the technical and business help to bring new products to market, and invested £22 million in two innovation and knowledge centers in Bristol and Southampton will help bring new British chip technologies to the global market.

The UK has also secured access to Horizon Europe’s €1.3 billion Chips Joint Undertaking and enabled the UK Infrastructure Bank to invest its £22 billion of financial capacity in semiconductor manufacturers. This enabled the Bank’s £60 million contribution to Pragmatic’s latest funding round.

Following extensive industry engagement, the establishment of the UK Semiconductor Institute is an important step towards implementing the UK Semiconductor Infrastructure Initiative, which was announced in the National Semiconductor Strategy in 2023. It was a key recommendation in a report commissioned by DSIT from the Institute for Manufacturing and is supported by the Semiconductor Advisory Panel.

Jalal Bagherli, co-chair of the Semiconductor Advisory Panel, said:

I believe the establishment of the Semiconductor Institute is a very positive step in advancing the UK’s semiconductor strategy. The institute concept featured strongly in the IFM consultancy research and is seen as an effective way to create long-term momentum for our sector, help engage international partners and attract investment into the sector.

Martin McHugh, Director at CSA Catapult said:

We are delighted to be establishing the UK Semiconductor Institute, which will bring together government, academia and industry to secure areas of world-leading strength in the semiconductor technologies of the future.

The UK Semiconductor Institute will ensure that Britain has a strategic and coordinated approach to developing new technologies, improving skills and exploiting areas where Britain has existing strengths.

One of these strengths is compound semiconductors and we look forward to working closely with the UK Semiconductor Institute to drive the advancement of this crucial technology, which will accelerate our route to Net Zero through electrification and deliver a secure and resilient telecoms network for the future will offer.

David Moore, Director from Pragmatic said:

We were delighted to complete the largest European venture capital investment in semiconductors in December 2023, co-led by the UK Infrastructure Bank and M&G, with 70% of the funding coming from UK investors. This funding will accelerate the continued expansion of our manufacturing capacity in the North East of England, increasing the volume of billions of flexible integrated circuits (FlexICs) to tens of billions per year.

As a UK-based semiconductor company serving a global customer base, we welcome efforts to provide access to technology to fuel the growth of emerging companies, stimulate the expansion of the industry’s talent pool and foster international partnerships. The Institute represents a significant opportunity to build new infrastructure to support areas where Britain can play a leading role on the world stage, including advanced materials and disruptive new approaches to large-scale semiconductor manufacturing.

Julian David, Director from techUK, said:

The establishment of a UK Semiconductor Institute is welcomed by techUK and other members of the Chips Coalition, including Global Tech Advocates and TechWorks. We have worked with the UK government to develop the National Semiconductor Strategy and we look forward to putting that strategy into action.

We are confident that this Institute will serve as an authoritative and competent body. By bringing together government, universities and the private sector, the Institute will play a crucial role in progress R&D, skills development and promoting international cooperation. This collaboration will secure a robust and innovative future for the UK semiconductor landscape.

The Chips Coalition looks forward to continuing to work with the Government on this endeavor and witnessing the positive impact this institute will have on Britain’s growth.

Charlie Sturman, Techworks, said:

Semiconductor technology is the key component of all transformative technologies such as AI, telecommunications, quantum and electrification. As economic success becomes increasingly dependent on semiconductors, it is vital that Britain develops a long-term vision and strategy, from research to commercial products and supporting partnerships with international partners, so that home-grown innovation can become global success stories. As the UK trade body for Deep Tech and Semiconductors, Techworks is pleased to support the establishment of this institute as a crucial step in this direction.

Janet Collyer, Senior Independent Director at EnSilica, Independent NED at the Aerospace Technology Institute, Chairman of the Board at Quantum Dice and at Machine Discovery, said:

I am pleased to be able to support the independent UK Semiconductor Institute. It will provide a welcome support base in the UK for semiconductor companies at all stages of their growth.

This capability is especially important in the key areas of attracting diverse talent to the sector, accelerating manufacturing revenues by shortening the transition from laboratory innovation to volume manufacturing – ‘the Lab to Fab’ – and securing continued investment in time for timely national expansion during the scale-up phase.

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