EC to launch €5bn electronics systems initiative

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The European Commission has announced an innovation investment package featuring five Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs). The €25billion investment, being made over the next seven years, includes a proposal for an Electronic Components and Systems JTI.

Called the Electronic Components and Systems for European Leadership (ECSEL) JTI, the body will see a merger of the ARTEMIS embedded systems initiative and the ENIAC nanoelectronics project, both set up in 2008. It will also incorporate research and innovation on smart systems. ECSEL's work is expected to start in early 2014 and to run for 10 years, bringing together a range of companies, research and technology organisations and academia. Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, pictured, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, said: "President Barroso, myself and other colleagues from the Commission met this morning with some of the ceos from companies that will participate in the JTIs. There was broad agreement that we were not doing enough, on the public or private side, to foster innovation. "I applaud industry for committing to these initiatives. These companies have decided that is not good enough – they are taking a bold step and investing and working with us. They have also – and this is one of the most interesting things about these partnerships – agreed to invest together with some of their biggest competitors. That is because they have realised that in this tough global environment, it's sometimes better to work together with a competitor than not to work at all." According to the EU, the initiative is intended to not only reverse the decline of the EU's global share in the electronic components and systems area, but also to maintain Europe's leadership in areas as embedded systems, semiconductor equipment and materials supply. A further goal is to develop a strategic research and innovation agenda. The ECSEL JTI is likely to have a budget of €4.8bn, with an EU contribution of up to €1.2bn matched by contributions from Member States. Industrial partners will contribute at least half of the total costs of around €2.4 billion.