Microelectronics in focus of the UMA summer course organised by Málaga TechPark and Innova IRV

The General Foundation of the University of Málaga (FGUMA) summer course “Microelectronics, towards a new strategic economy” has brought together academics, experts and entrepreneurs related to the sector these days at The Green Ray by PTA-UMA building.

The key aspects for the development of microelectronics in Spain that were discussed in the course were believing, growing, creating and attracting talent and companies. The microelectronics sector exposed the need for training in the microelectronics field to meet the market demands in our country in the coming years. This sector will need between 600 and 700 specialised workers a year.

The course was divided into two days, that is, 13 and 14 July. It was inaugurated by Javier López, vice chancellor for Business, Territory and Digital Transformation at the University of Málaga; and by Felipe Romera, general manager of Málaga TechPark.

Felipe Romera stated that Málaga is experiencing “a technological upturn in the fields of design and microchips manufacturing.” He highlighted that the public-private cooperation can be seen in different programs where Málaga TechPark, the University of Málaga and the Innova IRV Foundation participate in. Moreover, Felipe Romera added that the fields of design and microchips manufacturing have been strongly supported by the European Commission’s funding for the project of a microchip design centre in Málaga, which will entail an investment of €120 million. 

Javier López pointed out that Europe is facing a problem of strategic and business sovereignty, as it currently consumes 24% of the semiconductors manufactured worldwide, but it only generates 9 and 11% of the total value added. 

The aim of this course is to review and prove how microelectronics, in general, and more specifically, semiconductors, are key industries for the sustainable growth of economies. Furthermore, it is also aimed at promoting the strategy that is being developed to make Andalusia a leading region in the microelectronics sector. 

The introduction by Felipe Romera and Javier López was followed by a round table conference called ‘The vision of a leader: next challenges’, conducted by Pere Monclus, VP & CTO Network and Security BU at Intel; Francesc Guim, principal Engineer, Network and Edge BU at Intel; and Mario Nemirovsky, CTO at the Innova IRV Foundation, who was the chairman of the round table conference. 

Pere Monclus discussed the evolution of the next digital transformation and areas of focus where microelectronics plays an essential role. In addition, Francesc Guim explained the different types of engagement aspects on which they are working and how they operate them. 

Pedro Martín Jurado, COO of the Government Commission for the Strategic Microelectronics and Semiconductor Project, delivered the next talk called ‘Dialogue: national strategy: PERTE Chip.’

Among other things, Pedro Martín highlighted the ongoing activities at the PERTE Chip office that he recently joined. These include creating an ecosystem for the microelectronics manufacturing, the IPCEI on Microelectronics—Important Projects of Common European Interest—, the PERTE Chip missions—with an investment of €60 million—, the State Aids for the PERTE Chip project—with €80 million in funding—, the monitoring of the EU’s Chips Act or contacting foreign companies that are interested in having offices in Spain, as well as contacting national companies so that they can develop their projects. In addition, they are also working on a potential public consultation in autumn and on the management and governance of the PERTE Chip project.

Pedro Martín also claimed that the autonomous communities will play an essential role in the microelectronics sector. 

Then, Marcos Martínez, director of Standard Engineering at MaxLinear; Eduardo Valencia, Director of Electronic Industry, New Entrepreneurship and Territorial Development at Ametic; and José Manuel Leceta, general director of Innova IRV, talked about the ‘Current Situation of the Spanish Microelectronics Ecosystem: future challenges.’

Marcos Martínez discussed the potential that Spain and Europe have in the value chain that creates the greatest added value and requires the least investment (CAPEX), referring to fabless companies that design the products that we consume daily. “We need people that know programming and universities need to be aware of it,” he pointed out. 

On the other hand, Eduardo Valencia mentioned that PERTE Chip will cause the launch of many projects, creating spinoffs and startups that will need support to make them SMEs. Furthermore, he highlighted that we need to add elements that we do not have to the value chain, focusing on the importance of believing, growing, creating and attracting. “We require a training plan so that the graduates coming out from it can meet the needs of the industry. We need between 600 and 700 people a year,” he said. 

The general director of Innova IRV explained that the Foundation is highly aligned with the PERTE Chip strategy. 

‘Silicon Saxony: the European benchmark’ was the next topic of debate. The talk was given by Christian Mayr (online) from the Dresden University of Technology and by Stefan Uhlig, Senior Manager Deputy Director of Silicon Saxony Office. Lourdes Cruz, head of commercial and investment promotion at Málaga TechPark, was the chairwoman of this round table conference. 

Christian Mayr stressed the work being done at the university in the microelectronics field. In addition, Stefan Uhlig talked about everything related to the Silicon Saxony Office ecosystem and his work in this area.

Second day

The second day of this summer course started with the lecture of the Digital Eye Observatory on ‘UMA-Microelectronics Co-Innovation Laboratory Strategy’, with the participation of Javier López, vice chancellor for Business, Territory and Digital Transformation at the University of Málaga; and Mario Nemirovsky, CTO at Innova IRV Foundation.

Javier López explained the creation of the Laboratory of Co-Innovation in Microelectronics, highlighting the Catalogue of Innovation and Research Capabilities Creation by the University of Málaga and Innova IRV. 

Javier López also talked about the Master degree in Microelectronics at the University of Málaga, which is still in development. 

Mario Nemirovsky stressed that Málaga has great potential to develop a microelectronics strategy and, to do so, an important part of this relies on the talent and the university. 

Then, Óscar Chabrera, CFO AND COO at Innova IRV and Pedro Teixido, CTO at Ontech, were in charge of the round table conference called ‘Dkulpiot: design and IP Generation.’ 

Innova IRV Microelectronics SL will develop the DKULPIOT project (Design Kit Ultra Low Power Internet Of Things), aiming at generating a microelectronic design and an advanced packaging to provide companies in the IoT sector with a platform (Design Kit and Hw Platform).

Teixido stated that some of the goals are establishing Andalusia as a region expert in ASIC development, generating patents or attracting and keeping talent, both senior and recent graduates. 

Chabrera also mentioned the creation of Innova Microelectronics, a company that was founded because of the lack of development of IP solutions in the market. 

Finally, Mario Nemirovsky, CTO at Innova IRV; Íñigo Molina, founder and current leader of the Photonics and Radiofrequency Laboratory at the University of Málaga; and Diogo Costa, Customer Enablement Manager at iPronics (online), conducted the round table conference called ‘Manufacturing Activities: Photonics.’ 

All the speakers of this round table conference highlighted the importance of light and photonics in the area of microelectronics and the similarities with this sector.

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