Slovenia eager to play role in chip development
Ljubljana, 24 January - Slovenia is keen on jumping on the chip train after the EU passed legislation stipulating that the bloc should have a 20% global share in chip production by 2030. The country has know-how and experts in this field, according to speakers at Slovenia's first conference dedicated to chips, held in Ljubljana on Tuesday.
Decades ago Slovenia used to be among the leader in the development and production of semiconductors but it lost its advantage due to globalisation and the relocation of production to Asia. Agreements such as the EU's chips act open a new path towards the future, said University of Ljubljana rector Gregor Majdič.
Matevž Frangež, state secretary at the Economy Ministry, said Slovenia must be interested in areas such as the design and development of niche chips. Invoking the recent launch of the nanosatellite TRISAT-R, which is still orbiting earth, he said the project proved Slovenian chip design was robust.
Slovenia must create new chip firms, added Boštjan Zalar of the Jožef Stefan Institute, which is taking part in an initiative to develop the Slovenian semiconductor industry.
Zalar said several key phases had so far been identified as part of the initiative, starting with the creation of a centre for the design of integrated circuits and giving all stakeholders equal access to technological and research infrastructure.
It is also necessary to modernise equipment so that prototyping can be conducted, find a niche in the EU chip initiative, form a consortium to protect the country's national interest, and finally prepare for commercial production.
The conference was organised by the Ljubljana Faculty of Electrical Engineering, the MIDEM society for microelectronics, electronic components and materials, and the Slovenian chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).