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University of Sheffield professor to help grow UK semiconductor sector


University of Sheffield professor is part of the UK Semiconductor Advisory panel that is set to advise government on how to boost the UK’s semiconductor sector.

An academic from the University of Sheffield is set to help the government boost the UK semiconductor sector, as part of a new advisory panel that held its first meeting last week.

Professor John Goodenough from the University’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering - a world-leader in semiconductor R&D - is part of an expert advisory panel that will help the government ensure a secure supply of chips that are an essential part of every electronic device.

From phones and computers to ventilators and power stations, nearly every piece of technology in the world depends on semiconductors. As a result, they are vitally important for the world we live in, but have been in short supply since the pandemic.

The Semiconductor Advisory Panel, which includes some of the leading innovators from the industry, will advise the government on how to harness the UK’s domestic semiconductor strengths, ensure secure supply of chips, and protect national security.

The panel will help the government deliver its National Semiconductor Strategy - a 20-year vision for the sector around three key goals: growing the domestic semiconductor sector, mitigating the risk of supply chain disruptions and protecting national security.

Professor Goodenough is the only academic in the group, which includes other leading experts from major industry names such as Arm, IQE and Pragmatic.

Professor John Goodenough, Chair in Microelectronic Systems at the University of Sheffield, said: “The world as we know it would grind to a halt without semiconductors - they are a crucial part of every single electronic device that we all use, everywhere in every part of our lives. As we rely on these chips so much, it’s now more important than ever that the UK has the capabilities to produce our own chips for both national security but to also help grow our economy.

“I am honoured to be part of this panel that will help keep the UK at the forefront of the global semiconductor industry.”

The University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities for semiconductor research. Its Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering hosts the National Epitaxy Facility - a critical element of the UK’s semiconductor R&D, which provides the resources and expertise needed to progress new semiconductor technologies from basic discovery to mass manufacture.

Sheffield is also teaching the next generation of semiconductor engineers, helping them develop the skills and expertise the UK’s industry needs.

Through its Electronics and Computer Engineering course, Sheffield is producing graduates that are helping to fill the skills gap in chip design. As semiconductors are becoming ever more important, the University is teaching its engineering students to design chips, with security being a top priority.

The University is also working with semiconductor companies Bay Photonics and Phlux Technology Ltd on an Innovate UK-funded project to address the UK’s skills shortage. The project is creating free online courses for UK schools and a remote lab for semiconductor device testing aimed at students in year 10 and upwards to give them semiconductor skills and knowledge before entering further or higher education.

Professor Goodenough added: “The future of innovation and technology are in the hands of chip designers and manufacturers, so for the UK it is crucial that we have a workforce highly skilled in semiconductors so we can compete on the international stage. This is what we are doing at the University of Sheffield - we’re using our world-leading semiconductor R&D to inform our teaching to help make our engineering graduates the most skilled in the world and boost our domestic capabilities.

“I am excited to work across academic and industry ecosystems to inspire the next generation of engineers to join us on this important journey. One which will provide the semiconductor design and manufacturing technologies that will underpin multiple growth opportunities and deliver societal benefits in net-zero, AI and advanced communication.”

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