Europe's Imec Signs on for R&D Center in Taiwan

The Belgian researcher, Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (Imec), on Wednesday singed an agreement to co-fund a new research center in Taiwan that will focus on electronic designs, components and technology solutions, particularly in semiconductors.

The Taiwanese government will co-fund the Imec Taiwan Innovation Centre (ITIC). Initially, researchers at the center will focus on bioelectronics, MEMS (Microelectromechanical Systems) and green electronics. Imec hopes to work more closely with Taiwanese companies and academics through the center, it said.

The initial plan for ITIC is to build a staff of over 40 researchers within the next three years.

The Taiwanese government hopes to see more local research come out of the center.

"As a semiconductor innovative applications center, ITIC will support the upward shift in Taiwan's technology value chain and contribute to the realization of Taiwan's strategic Innovation Plan. It will accelerate open innovation that will result in locally owned IP (intellectual property) in the area of intelligent electronics," said Hwang Jung-chiou, vice minister of Economic Affairs in Taiwan, in the statement.

Taiwan also hopes other researchers and companies will follow Imec and build local R&D houses on the island.

Imec opened in Belgium in 1984 as part of a government-led effort to focus more on electronics and microelectronics. It is now Europe's largest independent research center in nanoelectronics and nanotechnology and has a staff of over 1,750.

Taiwan has one of the world's most vibrant semiconductor industry's, second only to the U.S. in chip design and first in the contract chip manufacturing business, led by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC).

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