30 Jun 2023
UK Sets Out a New Semiconductor Strategy
Plans are being made to help establish the UK as a “global science and technology superpower” by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology. The UK Government distinguished priority technologies, alongside AI, engineering biology and future telecoms.
With this in mind, the government wishes to double down on design, research, and revolutionary chip leadership. They aim to rejuvenate the struggling industry which has sadly been bruised by supply chain disruptions and geopolitical apprehensions.
By the same token, the UK government have now made a commitment to allocate up to £1 billion to chip companies over the next ten years or so. This being said, between 2023 and 2025, they plan on giving £200 million to British chip companies, with the remaining £800 million to be doled out by the end of 2033.
Experts feel that this is a strategic investment which shall benefit in the long run. Giving attention to building on the UK’s existing strengths in design, compound semiconductors and research. As well as this, the government aim to mitigate the threat of supply chain disruptions in the industry. This is mainly in reaction to chip shortages and global supply disruptions. Therefore the UK needs to work closely with its international partnerships.
On top of this, the government needs to protect national security from the increasing threats it faces as semiconductor technologies increase. Therefore, programmes such as Digital Security by Design need to be better supported. This programme aspires to ensure semiconductors can be safer and secure whilst we see a growth of cyber risks.
Regardless of the government's suggestions, experts fear that their commitment of £1 billion is far less when compared to the larger investments made by other countries. For example, the USA set aside a huge $52 billion to finance research and development to help grow semiconductor facilities within the country. By the same token, China made important investments within the semiconductor industry of $143 billion. This implies that the UK should be keeping up with the pace of investment levels of other countries.
Despite the pressure to invest at the same level as other countries, experts feel that the UK should focus more on growing its unique and already world-leading strengths in compound semiconductors and research and development. To achieve this, strategic planning needs to be implemented.