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The University of Southampton

Southampton scientists at forefront of future of world's semiconductors

Published: 28 July 2023
Future of semiconductors
University scientists to address global shortages of electronic designers

The future of semiconductors – which are used to power billions of electrical items worldwide – will be driven by the University of Southampton after it allied with big tech businesses to develop a new generation of skilled workers.

Experts from the university have joined the launch of the new Semiconductor Education Alliance which intends to address global shortages of electronic device designers and upskill the existing workforce.

Semiconductors have become vital to world manufacturing businesses and are used in all mobiles and computers, alongside healthcare, transport and for clean energy technology.

The new Alliance will see Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science partner with leading firms including Arm, Cadence, Synopsys, ST, Arduino, Taiwan’s TSRI, the All India Council for Technical Education, alongside the universities of Cambridge and Cornell.

Professor Geoff Merrett, from the University of Southampton, said: “We have collaborated with individual partners over many years, but uniting as a global Alliance gives a shared focus in addressing the design skill challenge.

“Southampton will lead on developing two important global communities of practise among the academic community. The first to improve delivery of skills in electronic design and the second in using state-of-art design to improve academia’s ability to improve research outcomes.”

The University of Southampton helped pioneer the creation of electronics more than 60 years ago – and was among the first developers of the semiconductor technology.

Professor Mark Spearing, Vice-President Research and Enterprise at the University of Southampton, said: “The Alliance’s goals of creating global communities of practice, promoting the sharing of knowledge and developing the skills we need to build a better, more sustainable, and inclusive world are goals we share in common, and we look forward to addressing these shared challenges.”

Developing skills and talent is one of the three key initiatives identified by the UK government’s new semiconductor strategy – alongside new research and better infrastructure – which it said the industry has recognised as barriers to progress.

The new Alliance intends to address these challenges by bringing together industry and academic experts, including Southampton, to upskill the industry by improving STEM education, apprenticeships, and industry-led learning.

Gary Campbell, Executive Vice President of Central Engineering at Arm, said: "The Semiconductor Education Alliance is bringing together key stakeholders across industry, academia and government to address the growing challenges of both finding talent and upskilling the existing workforce.

“With one of the oldest dedicated departments in Electronics, and more than 60 years as a nationally recognised centre in semiconductors, the University of Southampton is a partner that brings significant academic strength to the alliance.”

Read about Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science and its pioneering work in semiconductor development at .

Or find out more about the Semiconductor Education Alliance at .

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