Taiwan-UK Collaboration on Semiconductors

taiwan uk collaboration on semiconductors

The newly established Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) in the UK has recently released the UK's National Semiconductor Strategy. Dr. Shih-Chieh Chang, General Director of Electronic and Optoelectronic System Research Laboratories at the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) of Taiwan had an initial exchange with DSIT. During the exchange, Dr. Chang suggested that Taiwan can become a trustable partner for the UK and that the partnership can leverage collective strengths to create mutually beneficial developments. According to the Strategy, the British government plans to invest 1 billion pounds over the next decade to support the semiconductor industry. This funding will improve access to infrastructure, power more research and development and facilitate greater international cooperation.

Dr. Chang stressed that ITRI looks forward to more collaboration with the UK on semiconductors to enhance the resilience of the supply chain. While the UK possesses cutting-edge capabilities in semiconductor IP design and compound semiconductor technology, ITRI has extensive expertise in semiconductor technology R&D and trial production. As a result, ITRI is well-positioned to offer consultation services for advanced packaging pilot lines, facilitate pre-production evaluation, and link British semiconductor IP design companies with Taiwan's semiconductor industry chain. "The expansion of British manufacturers' service capacity in Taiwan would create a mutually beneficial outcome for both Taiwan and the UK," said Dr. Chang.

The British Office Taipei stated that the UK has been increasing collaboration with Taiwan on semiconductors over the last few years. In 2020, the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult (CSA Catapult) signed a memorandum of understanding with ITRI, paving the way for a long-lasting collaborative partnership. The Department for Business and Trade (DBT) is also focusing the Digital Trade Network in Taiwan to increase the UK's capability to support semiconductor trade and investment. Recognizing ITRI as a crucial driving force for Taiwan's semiconductor industry development, the British Office Taipei looks forward to more cooperation with ITRI for technological innovation, supply chain collaboration and stronger partnership.

Dr. Chang indicated possible collaboration that can be forged to align the goals of the UK's National Semiconductor Strategy and the positive impact to expect. ITRI, he suggested, can assist in establishing relevant pilot lines by introducing necessary resources to address existing gaps or offering consultation services covering design, packaging and testing prior to mass production. This would help reduce the UK's reliance on external suppliers and thus create job opportunities. To minimize the risk of supply chain disruptions, the linkage of Taiwan's complete semiconductor industry chain can significantly enhance the UK's resilience in the global market as more comprehensive solutions can shorten time-to-market for innovative products and accelerate overall industrial development.

Other than the collaboration with CSA Catapult on GaN semiconductor technologies, ITRI partnered with a renowned British semiconductor equipment manufacturer in 2021, resulting in achievements in areas such as HBLED, MEMS, Micro LED, silicon photonics, and nanoscale analysis. In the same year, ITRI worked with a leading British semiconductor IP manufacturer to jointly build a platform that assists startup companies in leveraging key patents to develop competitive new products. Based on the fruitful results, ITRI is set to expand its collaborative efforts with the UK in 2023, creating win-win opportunities for both sides.

Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) is one of the world's leading technology R&D institutions aiming to innovate a better future for society. Founded in 1973, ITRI has played a vital role in transforming Taiwan's industries from labor-intensive into innovation-driven. To address market needs and global trends, it has launched its 2030 Technology Strategy & Roadmap and focuses on innovation development in Smart Living, Quality Health, and Sustainable Environment. It also strives to strengthen Intelligentization Enabling Technology to support diversified applications.

Over the years, ITRI has been dedicated to incubating startups and spinoffs, including well-known names such as UMC and TSMC. In addition to its headquarters in Taiwan, ITRI has branch offices in the U.S., Europe, and Japan in an effort to extend its R&D scope and promote international cooperation across the globe.