The National Semiconductor Strategy: A good start, but what comes next will be critical to its success or failure
techUK welcomes the Government’s newly-launched National Semiconductor Strategy, a plan meant to bolster the UK’s semiconductor industry and secure its place on a global stage.
The National Semiconductor Strategy sets out a package of funding and support for the UK’s semiconductor industry that looks to provide critical support for the UK industry’s leadership in research, design, and intellectual property, alongside mapping further support for strengths in compound semiconductors. The Strategy aims to deliver by growing the domestic sector, mitigating the risk of supply chain disruptions, and protecting the UK’s national security.
The Strategy’s objectives match much of what industry has called for—in techUK’s “A UK Plan for Chips,” we outlined five key principles that the semiconductor industry needs to have successfully implemented by the Strategy. They are:
- Retain our position as a global leader on chip IP and design,
- Incentivise investment in advanced designs, new materials, and new fabrication plants,
- Partner with our global allies on supply and monitor the UK’s access to chips,
- Nurture the skills we need for the chips industry, and
- Ensure access to markets and private capital.
Many of these recommendations are supported by different parts of the Strategy, with the domestic growth portion of the Strategy aiming to enhance the sector’s R&D, launch new infrastructure initiatives, and support greater access to skills and talent for the industry. The Strategy also looks to safeguard the UK against supply chain disruption, targeting domestic resilience planning, access to critical industries and manufacturing, and pursuing international cooperation that will underlie the domestic industry’s success.The Strategy sets out key actions to support these, including an advisory panel, an infrastructure initiative, resilience and strengths mapping, and engagement with international partners. Though these ideas are well founded and signal a good start for the industry, the success of it all will come down to implementation.
The funding package for the Strategy tops out at £1 billion over 10 years, and although this funding is less than the US and EU’s funding amounts, the UK Strategy has set different objectives aiming to boost existing strengths and grow the UK’s market share in new and emerging chip technologies rather than seeking to turn the UK into a base for the fabrication of expensive high end silicon chips.
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