Talent is key!
The field of microelectronics and chip design requires very specific knowledge. We must ensure that knowledge and skills remain in the European ecosystem.
The greatest obstacle for growth for the companies in the ChipTech Twente cluster (and beyond!) is a lack of talent. In order to increase the European market share to 20%, education and training of talent are crucial. The field of microelectronics and chip design requires very specific knowledge. We need to attract more national and European students to this industry. We will also need to attract talent from outside Europe, but we must ensure that the knowledge and skills they acquire here remains in the European ecosystem. By investing in the scientific staff and the number of PhD positions in the field of Integrated Circuit Design, the number of Master’s students can also grow. In addition, Europe can invest in scholarship programmes for European students and offer master classes to interest secondary school students in these fields of study.
ChipTech Twente is keeping talent in Twente
The University of Twente produces a considerable number of graduates in Integrated Circuit (Chip) Design, who are very attractive for companies to hire immediately after graduation. As a result, approximately 9 chip design companies are currently located at the Sciencepark Kennispark Twente and close to the university. In the area of research, Prof.Dr.Ir. Bram Nauta works with Twente’s design houses and industries from all over the world, providing them with knowledge and smart design solutions. At the same time, he creates employment for his graduating students. Most of ‘his’ students now stay in Twente, because there are several Twente design houses and therefore enough ‘choice’ for these talented designers. Whereas a few years ago talent chose other Dutch regions or even Silicon Valley, it is now the other way round: chip design talent from other cities comes to Twente because of the cluster of design companies that offer them sufficient career opportunities and an ecosystem in which they can thrive.
Integrated Circuit Design – EE Master Specialisation
Integrated Circuit Design (ICD) in one of the several Electrical Engineering Master’s programme specialisations at the University of Twente. In ICD you learn how to design chips and how to test them. Starting from the basis of transistors you learn also how to make these signals wireless.
Bram Nauta, chair of the Integrated Circuit Design group, Maryam Dodangeh, PhD Researcher researching Bluetooth Low Energy technologies and Luc van Dijk, Master Student nearing the end of this specialisation tell about their experience, the courses in the programme, the research, the process of designing a chip, the applications and the job perspective.
Learn more about ICD: www.utwente.nl/en/mee/programme-information/Specialisations/icd/
Our ambitions to educate talent
Even though we attract top talent, the challenges for the near future are enormous. That is why we are strongly committed to drawing attention to educating much-needed engineers at regional, national and European level. We do this together with partners such as the province of Overijssel, Holland Semicon and Twente Board.
We ask the European Union (and the national government) to invest in electrotechnical education and research facilities, where talents in chip design and chip development are educated. By strengthening the research and teaching capacity, more students can be admitted. And by giving European students EU scholarships, we can ensure that more students stay in Europe and use their knowledge to strengthen our economy and independence. We hope that the Chips Act will open up funds to promote studies such as electrical engineering in secondary schools, for example by organising summer schools or assignments for secondary schools. Specific research funds for chips should also be allocated. PhD students at the university are the backbone of research and talent development. They carry out industrially relevant research in cooperation with industry. They supervise MSc students in their projects, and after graduation they all go to work in the industry. More research resources results in more PhD students feeding the ecosystem.
Actions from Chiptech Twente
In addition, we are of course working hard to realise our ambitions. In the upcoming period, we will be working on the following:
- Composing a roadmap for achieving our ambitions.
- Improving the match between the study programmes of Saxion University of Applied Sciences and the University of Twente.
- Attracting more students to study Electrical Engineering at Saxion or the University of Twente.
- Seeking cooperation with other colleges and universities (joint degree).
- Attract alumni from all over the world back to Twente (and therefore the Netherlands and Europe).
- Helping chip design companies to identify their growth opportunities (for supplying complete systems) and investing in the expansion of these companies with the help of business developers. This requires capacity and an investment fund.