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Analysis: NMI pushes Government to continue development of UK electronics industry

One of the conclusions of the Electronics Innovation and Growth Team's (EIGT) report, published at the end of 2004, was that the UK's electronics industry was 'largely invisible', even to Government.

Bodies such as the Electronics Leadership Council and the UK Electronics Alliance were established to try to change that. To a large extent, they have been successful and the role of electronics and its importance to the UK's economy have been recognised.

But some parts of the industry are now worried that, with the new Government, progress may be stalled. Derek Boyd (pictured), chief executive of the National Microelectronics Institute (NMI), wants to maintain progress. "It is imperative that we ensure the progress already made with prior governments is not only maintained, but that key messages are also driven forwards and momentum increased."

NMI has written an open letter to Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, asking for a meeting to discuss the ways in which the economy can maximise the potential that exists from what the NMI calls the UK's 'smart electronics systems sector'.

Boyd believes that it is imperative for the industry's collective voice to heard and is calling for the electronics industry to get behind the move.
In his letter to Cable, Boyd says:

'Microelectronic and semiconductor technologies are fundamental to the electronic systems that permeate our lives today and already have a huge impact on the UK Economy. Further miniaturisation and integration will mean that almost every UK business sector will become critically dependent on the applications of this technology.

'To be clear, this is the technology that will power the advances in the IT, Communications and Creative Industries. But, more than that, it will fuel the advances in the areas key to the UK's industrial future and demanded by society, such as Low Carbon Transport, Smart Grid, Renewable Energy, Security and Healthcare.

'It may be a surprise to you to find that the UK can already boast world leading capability in this area. Today's biggest brands and signature products are exceedingly complex and depend on the specialist skills of many nations for their development and production. British system designers, component suppliers and specialist production units are already well represented in these global endeavours. Unsung leaders of the 21st Century Knowledge Economy, these businesses compete globally, deliver their skills and services internationally and contribute significantly to the UK Economy as they do so.

'With a clear strategy, supported by Government, this UK strength can be developed to provide much needed rebalancing of the economy from an over reliance on financial services; whilst avoiding the future vulnerability from over-reliance on external supply for electronic system capabilities.

'The NMI's is to enable this community to thrive in the UK. We support innovation, technical excellence, skills, trade & investment and representation.

'We cannot over emphasise the importance of this capability to the UK economy and would welcome the opportunity to work with your team to realise its potential.
Yours sincerely
Derek Boyd, chief executive, NMI'



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You can email Derek Boyd to pledge your support or give specific input.

Author
Graham Pitcher

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