The Semiconductor 2004 Conference held in Edinburgh recently was a resounding networking success. Buoyed up by a renewed optimism for the semiconductor industry companies arrived in force to discuss current industry challenges and emerging opportunities. Although organised by JEMI UK, each year has seen more European companies represented as the event has gained positive word of mouth
The conference has two main sections. There is a table top exhibition that enables companies to present current activities and future plans. With attendance around 200 people it enabled a very congenial atmosphere for companies to share experiences and network for the future. The second part of the conference is an array of industry speakers providing decision enabling information. Having the conference in Edinburgh is strengthened by the area's commitment to advanced manufacturing opportunities through the Scottish Microelectronic Centres well as other government and educational programmes.
The conference dinner was held on the first night and provided a highspot for many present. The dinner is a chance for people to get to know each other socially before the main event. Two important awards are given at the dinner and this year's ceremony was well received and the two Scottish winners much appreciated. Some 170 people attended the evening event, then broke into smaller groups of their own accord and began to work on a number of initiatives and proposals. Industry dedication was well evident with some working groups continuing until the early hours in some of Edinburgh's late night business venues.
Scottish company, Semefab, won the JEMI Semiconductor Award for 2004. Semefab produces ASICS in CMOS, Opto- CMOS and Linear technologies as well as acting as a commercial foundry for customers requiring specialised semiconductor processing. Semefab has been a secure source of employment in Glenrothes, Fife since 1986 and has survived several serious downturns in the semiconductor business cycle. This resilience can be attributed to the wide variety of industrial sectors from automotive and security to home automation and consumer, that are serviced by the products manufactured in the Glenrothes plant.
This year's European Semiconductor/Siltronic Start-up Award was awarded to Scottish developer of light emitting polymer display technology MicroEmissive Displays (MED). This award to a Scottish company was a very popular decision at the conference. The European Semiconductor Start-up Award is given to the European start-up company that has demonstrated not just technical but commercial success. Companies must not be more than five years from foundation. Siltronic kindly supplies the trophy.
A new addition to the Semiconductor Conference was the decision makers lunch providing a chance to spend time with senior management from fabs around the world. This was a clever networking event that had many positive comments. With the growth in the Asian markets being such a big issue the marketing and business in China workshops were also fully subscribed with people anxious for useful information.
Ably chaired by Professor Colin Whitehead, the conference proper produced excellent information and debate. From Malcolm Penn of Future Horizons advising on 'Riding the Semiconductor Industry Tsunami' through Infineon on security, Compugraphics International on masks, to YOLE Development on III/Vs and MEMS the quality was high and the delivery enthusiastic. The attendees appreciated another fine program from Semiconductor 2004.
One event at the evening meal was not so much fun was the announcement that Elaine Townsend, the only JEMI UK employee, and many will agree has been a major key to the success of the event, has moved on to greener pastures. Elaine has been a great help and good friend to European Semiconductor and everyone here would like to thank her for all her help and wish her luck in the future. Her shoes will not be easy to fill.
June 2005 will see the JEMI conference return to Edinburgh and I am sure it will continue its growth and importance as a networking activity. European Semiconductor will be back to present another Start Up Award.
This year's European Semiconductor/ Siltronic Start-up Award was awarded to Scottish developer of light emitting polymer display technology MicroEmissive Displays (MED)
JEMI's event will return to Edinburgh next June