Europe's new nanoelectronics R&D programme: CATRENE
A new EUREKA programme on microelectronics research will be established in 2008 when the current MEDEA programme comes to an end. The new programme, CATRENE, has two important novelties: the
Light House Projects, which will address socioeconomic needs; and a new structure reflecting the increasing convergence between technology and applications.
The public-private partnership will aim at ensuring the continued development of European expertise in semiconductor technology and applications. Like MEDEA , CATRENE will include all key
actors in the value chain, from those working with applications, technology and materials to equipment suppliers. Industrial companies of all sizes, universities and research institutes will
also participate, supported by public authorities.
‘For more than a decade the EUREKA JESSI, MEDEA and MEDEA programmes have made it possible for Europe’s industry to reinforce its position in semiconductor process technology, manufacturing
and applications, and to become a key supplier to markets such as telecommunications, consumer electronics and automotive electronics,’ said Jozef Cornu, chairman of MEDEA and designated
chairman of CATRENE.
‘Nanoelectronics will offer enormous opportunities to those who are the first to master and bring to market new technologies and applications and we believe that CATRENE will play a vital role
in helping Europe’s microelectronics industry to go from strength to strength,’ Mr Cornu added.
The Lighthouse Projects will be focused research and development (R&D) programmes addressing major socioeconomic needs such as transportation, healthcare, security, energy and
entertainment. New challenges are expected to arise in these areas as Europe’s population ages, healthcare and energy costs shoot up, and transport systems are besieged by bottlenecks.
While previous programmes were divided into technology and applications sub-programmes, the increasing convergence of technology and applications were taken into account during the design phase
of CATRENE. The new structure will focus on large application markets, identified in a roadmap of required technologies.
The MEDEA team identifies the following as CATRENE’s key technology goals: maintaining and increasing Europe’s strength in intellectual property (IP) across the entire electronics supply
chain; maintaining and increasing Europe’s leadership in lithography and silicon-on-insulator materials; ensuring that European companies are among the world leaders in advanced semiconductor
technologies that allow entire systems to be integrated in a single package; and strengthening European expertise in applying a deep knowledge of semiconductor process technology to the
efficient design of new electronics applications.
Like MEDEA , CATRENE will run for four years, and will be extendable by a further four years.
MEDEA supported 77 projects, involving 20,000 person-years and around 450 partner organisations from large companies (38%), small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) (37%) and institutes and
academia (25%). It led to important innovations in areas such as automotive and traffic control, broadband communications, secure society, energy-saving and healthcare.