On Friday 19 May, the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology published the details of the UK’s GBP 1 billion National Semiconductor Strategy.
The strategy aims to shore up strategic strengths in design and innovation while making what it calls ‘strategic investments’ in niches such as compound semiconductors, advanced packaging, and photonics. The strategy comes a day after the announcement of a comprehensive partnership with Japan on semiconductors and other supply chains.
Much of the investment is directed towards a National Semiconductor Infrastructure Initiative worth GBP 200 million, which will fund semiconductor R&D; other decisions appear to have been deferred until after the next general election.
Access Partnership’s UK practice can support organisations looking to shape funding opportunities. We would be happy to forward on more details of the strategy or arrange a short call with you in the coming weeks to work through the implications of the strategy for your organisation.
Areas of opportunity
- The UK has leant into the strategic sector niches of existing domestic capabilities with targeted funding of R&D, design and IP, and compound semiconductors.
- The UK-Japan Semiconductor Partnership should facilitate new R&D cooperation and skills exchanges and improve the resilience of the semiconductor supply chain with a joint investment of up to GBP 2 million in early-stage semiconductor research in 2024.
- There is an opportunity for ongoing consultation with industry and academia through the UK Semiconductor Advisory Panel, which will be tasked with creating shared solutions and implementation.
- The National Semiconductor Infrastructure Initiative has been formed to boost UK commercial innovation for start-ups/SMEs by investigating barriers to accessing infrastructure. The specific areas of interest include design tools and IP, silicon prototyping, compound manufacturing, and advanced packaging.
- New semiconductor resilience guidance should help businesses become more resilient against supply chain shocks. In conjunction with these efforts, a cross-government and industry forum will act as a platform to identify and mitigate supply chain disruption.
Areas presenting potential risk
- A review of the National Security and Investment Act 2021 looks to consider the scope of Computing Hardware and Advanced Materials, which may draw government involvement in acquisition negotiations and create more uncertainty.
- There is the potential risk that too many parallel strategies could lead to duplication and other unintended consequences. However, the UK strategy leans into strategic niches in the market to not try and match the economic might of the EU and US and their respective mass manufacturing plants.
Access Partnership is closely monitoring and engaging with the UK government on the implementation of the National Semiconductor Strategy. If you would like to understand more about the potential opportunities for your business, please contact Jessica Birch at [email protected].