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Sep 28th, 2012
 
The four major European Research centers (CEA (France), CSEM (Switzerland). VTT (Finland) and Fraunhofer (Germany), forming the Heterogeneous Techno¬logy Alliance (HTA), unveil the creation of a platform to bolster European leadership in Smart Integrated Systems
 
The four major European research centers (CEA (France), CSEM (Switzerland), VTT (Finland) and Fraunhofer (Germany)) that form the Heterogeneous Technology Alliance (HTA) have now launched a research, development and innovation for Smart Integrated Solutions. There cutting-edge technologies will soon form the basis of innovative solutions to problems facing society in fields of transportation, health care, energy generation and distribution, and communication. This Smart Integrated System Solutions (SIS2) initiative—the fast track to innovation—will enhance the competiveness of the European semiconductor community. Aggressive utilisation of design, technology and application services is used as basis to build the advantages.
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The European semiconductor industry has already taken the lead in the field of Smart Integrated Systems, products that combine technologies (Microsystems, Optics, Power Electronics, Wireless Communications, Biosensor, etc.) providing enhanced functionality such as sensing, actuating and power management with highly sophisticated (nano-) electronics into a single package or chip. The SIS2 initiative builds on existing competencies and infrastructures of HTA members and creates a cooperative technology infrastructure open to European industry. This platform will support customers with design services and a wide variety of add-on technologies and will help maintain and build on the leading position by supporting R&D and providing pilot production for innovative products in small and medium sized companies. As such, it will be an essential tool for overcoming the commercialization "valley of death" that often hinders the successful realization of new products requiring components that cannot be provided by the mass market semiconductor industry. It is the fast track to innovation.

"We are building a new paradigm in R&D in facing the challenges of the economy and society,"
said Georges Kotrotsios, the HTA chairman for 2012 and vice president of CSEM. "Aligning cultures and work methods of the four HTA members has not always been easy, but the rewards are already here and - through the new SIS2 initiative - anticipated to be even greater for European industry."

Unique position
The HTA, whose top level management and experienced researchers are meeting in Neuchatel to discuss the organization's pivotal role in ensuring competitiveness of European industry through cutting-edge research and technology transfer, is uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between today's exciting potential and tomorrow's reality in Smart Integrated Systems. The members have expertise in functional diversification over a wide range of production volumes, are already key actors in the ecosystem that supports the whole supply chain, and can easily establish a multi-site R&D&I facility open to all European companies, research organizations and universities because of existing infrastructures. This will guarantee pan-European access to the leading-edge "More-than-Moore" technologies (components and systems that have extended functionality because of the heterogeneous integration of CMOS, M(O)EMS, photonic components and new materials) that will one day form the main components of innovative products that address many of the major challenges to societies around the world.

Wide range of possible applications
In the fields of urbanization and transportation, such products will allow the electrification of vehicles as well as the collection and distribution of information, goods and energy. Smart Integrated Systems will make essential contributions to energy generation and distribution by helping to conserve energy through the smart control of drives, smart metering, by bringing solid-state lighting to homes and by enabling low-power devices. In the health care and inclusion arena, the technology will provide methods for early diagnostics, assisted prevention and regular monitoring for speedy recovery, all leading to reduced health care costs. "Bio systems" will include an interface between electronics and biology and introduce completely new systems including smart implants and prostheses controlled by the brain. SIS may also enable the development of alternatives to animal testing. Communication technologies will benefit from the use of SIS, which will allow effective interaction between man and machine.

Space agency, industries to attend two-day meeting
During a two-day meeting in Neuchatel (Sept. 20th and 21st), 60 researchers from the four countries will gather, develop collaborative projects and also meet with the European Space Agency to discuss how to improve the reliability of micro devices that will be sent into space. Local industry has also been invited to come discuss how it can improve competitiveness through cooperation with HTA. A leading name in the automotive industry will attend to exchange views on coming generations of vehicles.

The HTA has already been involved in numerous industrial projects where at least two partner research centers contributed towards the creation of new products: industry sectors such as consumer goods, home appliances and transportation have concretely benefitted from the alliance. The contribution of several HTA members to projects within the framework of numerous European Commission-funded projects has led to excellent results that helped boost the competitiveness of domains including digital payment, smart textiles, printable polymer electronics, to name just a few.


 
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