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UK SecTech Accesses €1.3B Horizon Europe Fund

British semiconductor researchers, enterprises, and startups have joined the EU's 'Chips Joint Undertaking'
March 14, 2024

Exciting developments are on the horizon for British semiconductor researchers, enterprises, and startups as the UK officially joins the EU's 'Chips Joint Undertaking.' This collaboration grants the UK semiconductor sector access to a substantial €1.3 billion fund dedicated to semiconductor technology research until 2027, courtesy of Horizon Europe.

Designated as a "Participating State," the UK can now engage more closely with European counterparts in semiconductor innovation. This designation empowers the UK to influence research priorities and funding decisions as the fund evolves over the coming years.

A significant aspect of this partnership is the opportunity for the UK to collaborate with the Republic of Korea on semiconductor advancement. This collaboration, facilitated by the UK-Republic of Korea Semiconductor Framework, aims to explore innovative ways to enhance chip performance through advanced packaging techniques.

In 2024, the Chips Joint Undertaking fund will focus on two specific funding calls: semiconductors for automotive applications and RISC-V, an open-source architecture driving semiconductor innovation by streamlining chip design processes. This initiative also broadens opportunities for scientists and businesses to secure research support.

The UK's re-entry into Horizon Europe via a tailored agreement with the EU has expanded the landscape of opportunity for tens of thousands of UK companies. Access to Horizon Europe grants, averaging £450,000 per business, is now a reality, bolstering innovation across various sectors.

Further support is on the horizon, with an initial £5 million from the Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology, administered by Innovate UK, available this year. An additional £30 million is earmarked to bolster UK participation in ongoing research endeavors between 2025 and 2027.

This commitment is reinforced by significant investments from the Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology and UK Research and Innovation, totaling £22 million. These investments are directed toward establishing Innovation and Knowledge Centres in strategic locations like Southampton and Bristol. These centers are dedicated to advancing cutting-edge chip technologies, including silicon photonics and compound semiconductors, with a focus on bringing these innovations to market.

The UK's integration into the Chips Joint Undertaking signifies a pivotal moment for semiconductor research and innovation, positioning the country at the forefront of technological advancement and economic growth.

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