Over a year ago, Member of the European Parliament Bart Groothuis received the ambition plan for strengthening ChipTech in Twente. With this plan, Twente showed it could make an important contribution to the European Commission’s ambition to be less dependent on Asia and the US in terms of chip production and to claim more market share. Now – a year later – major steps have been taken within the Twente ChipTech cluster and, together with national cooperation partners, it is preparing for a national strategy for semicon, photonics and quantum. With this, the cluster is also entering a new phase, which means that other emphases are needed in the composition and further implementation of the team of those involved. The most important change is that quartermaster Tim Tiek will transfer his accumulated knowledge to an implementation team that will give hands and feet to the ambitions and strategic direction.
Uniting chip design companies in Twente
To realize Twente’s ambitions, a team was formed with Tim Tiek as quartermaster in early 2023 with a financial contribution from Twente Board. Together with the team, he has taken a number of important steps. Tim Tiek: “An important aspect of my assignment was to unite the chip companies in Twente, map the regional need and put Twente’s strengths as a semicon region even better on the map nationally. As SME companies, instead of competing with each other, it is better to act together in profiling Twente as a ChipTech region. In recent months, we have built a solid cluster through substantive meetings and participation in relevant (inter)national trade fairs, meetings and trade missions and have put our ambitions well in front of The Hague and Europe.”
Putting Twente on the map as a semiconductor region
Twente is world leader when it comes to chip design. Its knowledge of photonics, quantum and microfluidics is also highly regarded. Here also lies an important answer towards the EU Chips Act. But to make a difference, the region needs to join hands with others, and that is what the cluster has done in recent times. Through intensive cooperation between ChipTech Twente and Twente Board with Brainport, Delft, Nijmegen, High Tech NL Semiconductors, PhotonDelta, Oost NL and other partners, Twente can align its ambitions with national and international ambitions. Twente is currently working with the aforementioned partners on a national strategy for the integration of electronics with photonics and quantum. In addition, national plans have been presented to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and RVO for the establishment of a Competence Center, as the Dutch knowledge platform for the European Chips Act. This national center must make it possible to actually realize the national strategy by opening up knowledge, building consortia, attracting research programs and giving hands and feet to the talent task. ChipTech Twente plays an important role in this implementation. In early January 2024, Europe will decide whether the consortium can start building this center.
With all these developments and the enormous willingness among companies, knowledge institutions and partner organizations to help build ChipTech Twente, the organization has accelerated into another phase. Professor Bram Nauta, member of the ChipTech Twente core team: “Together with the team and all partners, we have worked very hard to get here with a tremendous amount of energy and unanimity, achieving the results from the first phase much faster than we had initially anticipated. Now it is time to continue building ChipTech Twente with a structural team, the realization of a foundry for heterogeneous systems for chips, strengthening chip design and establishing programs around heterogeneous integration. That requires different types of people, people who can put a lot of time into executing the strategy. We are incredibly grateful to Tim for the great strides he has been able to make in a short period of time. His knowledge of the semicon industry has proven to be of great value and has contributed to the fact that we are now standing here together. We are pleased that he wants to continue supporting ChipTech Twente from the sidelines.”