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New independent Institute to steer UK semiconductor innovation

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UK Semiconductor Institute announced to support key components of the government’s Semiconductor Strategy.

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

The aim is that in the future the Institute will be established as an independent organisation tasked with making sure chip researchers have the tools and infrastructure needed to drive their work forward in these focus areas and convert their innovation into market-ready products, subject to final checks.

As further international semiconductor agreements are made, the Institute will also act as a coordinated entry point for technology businesses and international partners who want to work with the UK semiconductor sector to boost innovation, research and commercialisation.

Technology Minister Saqib Bhatti said: "Semiconductors underpin all the technology that keeps our economy moving. Our strategy set out that we would grow the sector and make it resilient by focussing on what the British chip sector does best.

"Building on the early success of the strategy, the UK Semiconductor Institute will unify the semiconductor sector to focus our talented researchers on securing our status at the cutting edge of semiconductor science. This is a hugely significant milestone on our journey to becoming a science and tech superpower by 2030.

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

Announced one year on from the launch of the National Semiconductor Strategy, the Institute will set its key focus areas in line with those identified by the Strategy, which identified British strengths in compound chips, design and research and development.

Since the launch of the Semiconductor Strategy, the government has launched ChipStart, a pilot incubator for start-ups the technical and business help they need to help bring new products to market, and invested £22 million in two Innovation and Knowledge Centres in Bristol and Southampton to help bring new UK chip technologies to the global market.

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

After extensive industry engagement, the creation of the UK Semiconductor Institute is a major 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 has the support of the Semiconductor Advisory Panel.

Jalal Bagherli, co-chair of the Semiconductor Advisory Panel said: "I believe the creation of the Semiconductor Institute is a very positive step in advancing the UK semiconductor strategy. The institute concept featured strongly in the IFM consultative study and it is seen as an effective way to create long term momentum for our industry, help in engaging international partners and attracting investment in the sector."

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