ICOS, a three-year Coordination and Support Action (CSA) from the European Commission in the frame of Horizon Europe, was launched on 19 January 2023 with its kick-off meeting held in Brussels. ICOS aims to support the growth of the European Semiconductor and Semiconductor-based photonics industry through focused international research cooperation. The strategic importance of semiconductors and the dependence of Europe from other regions of the world were evidenced by the recent international crises. ICOS will play a significant role in helping our continent to regain sovereignty and leadership in that domain, in line with the objectives set out by the EU Chips Act.
In this context, ICOS will identify and support the establishment of the most promising scientific collaborations by targeting leaders in the sector worldwide. The project will start with an exhaustive analysis of the value chains of semiconductors for electronics and photonics, the strengths and gaps of European and International industries in this area. The next generation and emerging technologies, especially in advanced computation and functionalities will be identified and the most interesting countries for international cooperation will be determined. Based on the obtained results, ICOS will then highlight the research subjects likely to benefit the most to the European strategic goals, and translate them into proposals for future bilateral or multilateral research initiatives and practical cooperation modalitities.
Fraunhofer EMFT will contribute to technology scanning and foresight on future technologies for advanced functionality and support the foundation of international cooperations with non-EU national authorities and the corresponding support of the European Commission (coordinated by VDI/VDE).
The consortium gathers a well-balanced mix of six academic partners (Grenoble INP, IUNET, TU Delft, WUT, IMT, Ghent University), five research and technology organizations (RTO : CEA-LETI, imec, Tyndall, VTT, Fraunhofer), two academic and industrial associations (SiNANO Institute and AENEAS), four semiconductor manufacturers (NXP Semiconductors, Bosch, Infineon, STMicroelectronics) and two industry consultants (DECISION and VDI/VDE) from nine European countries. In addition, non-European partners – United States, Japan, and Taiwan – are involved in two Industrial and International Advisory Boards, which reinforce the global and industrial dimensions of ICOS.
The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement number 101092562.
»ICOS will also give significant contributions to two other major European initiatives: the Digital Agenda and the Green Deal. By the end of the ICOS project, we should be in a position to advise the European Commission on collaborative actions to be implemented with leading semiconductor countries, supported by an in-depth risk-benefit assessment. In the context of the recent chips shortage impacting many European industries and citizens, the role, concept and objectives of ICOS became more strategic than ever.«
Francis Balestra, GINP-CNRS & Director of the SINANO Institute, ICOS coordinator