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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/Z002621/1
Title: gran
Principal Investigator: Woods, Professor RF
Other Investigators:
Goodenough, Professor N J Shakeel, Dr H
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Ms BA McEvoy
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Electronics, Elec Eng & Comp Sci
Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 31 May 2024 Ends: 30 November 2025 Value (£): 516,508
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Electronic Devices & Subsys.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Delays in availability of silicon-based products in the past four years has been driven by the world shortage of semiconductors and has raised awareness of semiconductors in a way not previously witnessed. It has led the government to identify that along with quantum, AI, engineering biology and future telecommunications, semiconductors are one of the five critical technologies that will underpin the UK's economic and national security going forward. The global market for semiconductors is projected to reach $1 trillion by 2030.

It was clear that the UK needed a defined strategy for semiconductors and this resulted in the UK's National Semiconductor strategy policy paper which focuses on strengths in research and development, design and IP, and compound semiconductors. It pledges £1B of public investment to boost the sector and to drive research and innovation. In addition, the Institute for Manufacturing Engage Consortium evaluated five key capabilities, silicon prototyping and low volume piloting, advanced packaging, compound semiconductor open-access foundry, access to EDA tools and design IP and an institutional framework for strategic coordination for the sector (https://engage.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/uk-semiconductor-infrastructure-initiative-2023/).

This detailed analysis has largely focused on the commercial potential, but there has been little coverage of the UK academic research base which is critical. The UK R&D ecosystem provides considerable potential for future technological breakthroughs, ability to collaborate on effective research and development activities (nationally and internationally) and has the ability to contribute to the skills base through the education of highly qualified and well-trained semiconductor technology staff.

The purpose of the proposal is for Queens Belfast and Sheffield universities to perform a detailed analysis and evaluation of the semiconductor research base, primarily in the academic environment and to undertake critical team building. Under the academic leadership of Professor Roger Woods and Dr Hamza Shakeel at Queen's Belfast and Professor John Goodenough at Sheffield, a project team of one Postdoc researcher and three administrators will undertake all of the above activities. It will be guided by a steering group of academics across the key areas from Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, King's College London, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Southampton, Swansea and Warwick. Throughout the project, the work will be supported by DSIT.

This will be achieved by undertaking: a detailed landscaping activity which will help to ascertain the strength of UK semiconductor academic R&D; strategic case studies into academic activity abroad with the goal of identifying working models; a detailed horizon scanning activity to understand the current international efforts, emerging opportunities and potential avenues for collaboration and; community building activities and various community building events.

Field research will comprise of online workshops in relevant topics, such as heterogenous Integration, AI compute, neuromorphic computing, manufacturing, MEMS, test and verification, current and emerging materials & foundation (to include compound, widegap and 2D), silicon photonics, design architecture and circuits. The workshops will gather the views of academics, and encourage community building, networking and constructive discussion involving at least two hundred people. There will also be at least fifteen in person workshops reaching at least three hundred people, addressing key challenges, staging focus groups, offering opportunities for knowledge exchange and dissemination. There will also be at least ten domestic and twenty international visits, and participation and/or attendance at a large number strategic semiconductor research events nationally and internationally, including conferences, expos, initiatives, and industry meetings.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.qub.ac.uk