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UK Government assembles semiconductor elite for advisory panel

Written by Thu 10 Aug 2023

The UK Government has formed a Semiconductor Advisory Panel with leading names to steer the future of the semiconductor sector.

Experts working at semiconductor firms like Arm, IQE and Pragmatic met with Technology Minister Paul Scully last week at Imperial College London in the first meeting of the Semiconductor Advisory Panel.

The Panel aims to harness domestic semiconductor strengths, ensure secure supply of chips, and protect national security.

“Properly engaging and listening to the experts at the heart of researching, designing and producing semiconductors is essential,” said Scully who co-chairs the Panel.

The Panel is made up of ten experts from across the semiconductor sector, with representatives from business and technology, alongside experts in venture capital, skills and research. In addition to Paul Scully, these include:

  • Dr Jalal Bagherli, Chief Executive Officer of Dialog Semiconductor and Co-chair of the Semiconductor Advisory Panel
  • Amelia Armour, Partner at Amadeus Capital Partners
  • Janet Collyer, Senior Independent Director at EnSilica, Independent NED at the Aerospace Technology Institute, Chair of the Board at Quantum Dice and at Machine Discovery
  • Professor John Goodenough, Chair in Microelectronic Systems at the University of Sheffield
  • Richard Grisenthwaite, Executive VP & Chief Architect at Arm
  • Rae Hyndman, Managing Director of Clas-SiC Wafer Fab
  • Americo Lemos, CEO of IQE
  • Dr. Andy Sellars, Strategic Development Director for Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult
  • Dr. Eben Upton, CEO of Raspberry Pi Foundation
  • Scott White, Executive Director of Pragmatic

The Panel will meet every two months, agreeing key actions for both industry and Government to take further. Future meetings will focus on how to nurture skills, improving access to finance, and developing stronger international collaboration.

“Each member brings a unique perspective and expertise, making it an ideal platform to collaborate with national government in shaping an effective policy for our industrial sector,” said Bagherli.

Bagherli expressed confidence that the Panel has the potential to create an environment conducive to innovation, economic growth, and job creation.

The Panel will assist in the delivery of the National Semiconductor Strategy that was announced last May. The Strategy offers a twenty-year vision for the sector, with three key goals: growing the domestic semiconductor sector, mitigating the risk of supply chain disruptions and protecting national security.

“I look forward to serving on the Semiconductor Advisory Panel to ensure the UK has a strong place in the extraordinarily globalised semiconductor industry. We will focus on developing the UK’s already considerable strengths, while working with like-minded nations to ensure resilient supply chains,” said Grisenthwaite.

The Strategy received criticism for not being ambitious enough to compete in the expanding global semiconductor landscape. While the strategy was welcomed by stakeholders, the announcement followed delays in action.

“With the Panel now in place, it is time for the Government to put its foot on the pedal and accelerate its implementation.

“The Semiconductor Advisory Panel contains some of the very best leaders and experts in the sector and part of their role must be to ensure that the Government delivers on its promises,” said Russ Shaw CBE, Founder of Tech London Advocates and Global Tech Advocates.

Panel member Janet Collyer hopes to support increasing the number of women choosing a career in UK semiconductors, as well as connecting UK based design to resilient mass production manufacturing networks.

Professor John Goodenough hopes to inspire the next generation of engineers and underpin multiple UK growth opportunities that deliver societal benefits in net-zero, AI and advanced communication.

As a representative for the venture capital sector, Amelia Armour aims to practically support the growth of the UK semiconductor ecosystem and help foster the development of our specific areas of deep tech expertise.

Scott White felt confident that the UK can be globally competitive with the next generation of semiconductors by seizing a leading role in innovative technologies and growing the manufacturing base of these technologies.

“It will need strong focus to ensure that planned interventions meet the objectives of the semiconductor strategy, but I look forward to working with my colleagues on the panel to help the government achieve these goals and enable the sector to deliver sustained long-term value for the UK,” added White.

Last week, the Government also announced details of the UK’s first semiconductor design incubator, which will give early-stage semiconductor companies in the UK technical and business support they need to bring new products to the market.

The pilot scheme will be run by an experienced startup accelerator, Silicon Catalyst, nurturing semiconductor startups from across the UK through an extensive nine-month incubator programme.

The global semiconductor industry is estimated to be worth more than $1 trillion by 2030. The UK Government is eager to establish themselves as a strong member in the globalised semiconductor industry, announcing a £1 billion ($1.2 billion) investment in May this year.

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Written by Thu 10 Aug 2023

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