Context/Origin Story

​​​In this context of chips shortage, impacting European industries and citizens, the role, concept and objectives of ICOS are more strategic than ever.

Pivotal technologies

Semiconductors and Semiconductor-based photonics are pivotal technologies for almost all existing industrial sectors. It was illustrated when, following the recent international crisis, the sudden negative supply shock of semiconductors severely damaged the production of Europe’s key industrial sectors.  

As a result, the European Union decided to tackle the strategic importance of semiconductors, with an ambitious European action plan.  

This is specifically the objective of the EU Chips Act which draws up a roadmap to make the continent one of the world leaders in Semiconductors. 

Pivotal role of international research cooperation

International research cooperation has already proved its value in the development of the Semiconductor industry. 

The clearest example of this type of cooperation has probably been the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS), which has supported the continuous growth of semiconductor industry, following the Moore’s Law for 20 years, or the IPSR-I Roadmap 

Started in 1991 in the US, it was later extended to other technology leading countries like EU, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. With the increasing complexity of the semiconductor value chain, the initiative became the International Roadmap for Devices and Systems (IEEE-IRDS) in 2016, covering also the evolution and needs of Electronic Systems that are critical dependent on the semiconductor industry. 

European partners have been involved since the beginning in ITRS and IRDS, even promoting its extension outside the pure logic and memory-oriented technologies to cover application-specific technologies, like power and sensor, of more interest for the European application industry. 

However, even though international cooperation on research is thus possible and effective and has been demonstrated by almost 40 years of European Framework Projects, it has been largely controlled by the needs of US and Asian industries.

Within the Horizon 2020 programme, actions have been taken to counteract this situation (e.g. the NEREID CSA, which developed a roadmap of semiconductor technologies, based on the interests of the European industry).  

Moreover, for several years, European industrial and academic partners are cooperating in the definition of the ECS-SRIA, which is at the basis of the Workprogramme of the European JU’s on Electronic Components and Systems ECSEL (now KDT) and that will become CHIPS JU. 

Our proposal aims at building on the results of the NEREID CSA and others international cooperation programs (in which several of our partners are active), with the purpose of identifying topics where research cooperation with other regions is beneficial for the European Semiconductor industry.