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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/X039218/1
Title: eFutures: Electronic systems technology for emerging challenges
Principal Investigator: Woods, Professor RF
Other Investigators:
Shakeel, Dr H
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD) Cadence Design Systems Huawei Group
Pragmatic Semiconductor Limited Synopsys - Glasgow
Department: Sch of Electronics, Elec Eng & Comp Sci
Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast
Scheme: Network
Starts: 15 May 2023 Ends: 30 November 2025 Value (£): 760,495
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Electronic Devices & Subsys.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Electronics Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
24 Jan 2023 EPSRC ICT Prioritisation Panel January 2023 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Electech, covering areas such as sensors, power electronics, embedded computing, wireless communication technology, autonomous systems and large-area electronics, is predicted to play a foundational role in the future development of industries and value chains. It is central to Innovate UK's core strategy and its importance to future economic growth cannot be overstated. It is vital that the UK maintains a strong electronics design and technology base in the face of international developments. The proposed European chips act (February 2022), will mobilise 43 43 billion euros by 2030 in 'policy-driven investment' for the EU's semiconductor sector. The US CHIPS Act will result in a $280 billion investment to bolster their semiconductor capacity, catalyse R&D, create regional high-tech hubs and grow a more inclusive STEM workforce.

The UK has a very vibrant but dispersed, electronic systems academic community, organised into larger activities in the universities of Glasgow, Imperial College London, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, Southampton, University College London and Queen's University Belfast as well as satellite activities in a range of other universities. The community have been able to organise into an effective electronic systems community via the eFutures network (EPSRC eFutures2.0: Addressing Future Challenges grant, May2019-2023). In addition to growing the community, the objectives of the existing eFutures2.0 network had been to explore multidisciplinary opportunities for the sector.

The successes of eFutures include: the organisation of 20+ in-person and online events (1825 attendees); the creation of a new website and a YouTube channel with 34 videoed talks (speakers from 19 countries) with a total of 1180 views; increased network membership by over 400% and move from a pure mailout model to include social media, achieving 64% of event attendees who had not previously engaged with the network; the delivery of two new, strategic landscaping reports: 'UK Landscape in AI & Brain-Inspired Computing Hardware' (Q4 2021) and 'Electronics for Healthcare: R&D across the UK' (expected Q1 2023). The 2021 Report had national media coverage, follow-up events (150 attendees), an upcoming, high-value proposal and a mention in the EPSRC Delivery Plan. The Healthcare Report results from online and in-person events (264 attendees) leading to a Programme Grant proposal. The network funded six multidisciplinary, concept projects (£78k), benefitting 11 academics across ten UK and four international universities; and delivered focussed engagement with 59 early-career and 30 mid-career researchers via two in-person workshops and online training.

Ultimately, the aim is to further enhance the impact of UK electronics systems academic research and put the community in a strong, competitive position for collaboration with both national and international researchers, and industry. As highlighted above this will be achieved by continuing to build and growing network membership, organising the Net-Zero multidisciplinary event to engage our community more broadly in the area with other academic areas and companies to tackle this key topic, represent a strong focus on the electronics systems academic community in the UK, supporting early career researchers and growing the community by encouraging interaction or the national and international level and increasing the funding. We will achieve this by building on the successes of the eFutures2.0 activity with the same leadership team and steering group. The success and commitment to this activity is indicated by the in-kind commitment of £64,000 from our steering group companies.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.qub.ac.uk