Westminster Business Forum: Priorities for the UK semiconductor industry

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When: 16 February 2024, 08:00 - 12:00

Where: Virtual

Cost: £260 + VAT

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This conference will examine priorities for the UK semiconductor industry.

It is bringing stakeholders together with policymakers to discuss proposals in the UK Government’s National Semiconductor Strategy, which aims to strengthen and grow the UK’s semiconductor sector whilst increasing resilience and security.

Delegates will assess the scale and direction of government investment into the domestic semiconductor sector, with concerns from some that the strategy lacks ambition, as well as looking at priorities for attracting inward investment.

They will also examine the strategy’s focus, and implications of its emphasis on research and design rather than manufacturing, alongside discussing how future risks of supply chain disruption across the industry can be mitigated.

There will be further discussion on competition and enabling access for start-ups, scale-ups and other new entrants, as well as growing key domestic and international markets for the UK semiconductor industry. Discussion will consider opportunities arising from innovation in technology, in areas such as AI and quantum.

Those attending will look at strategic priorities for fostering multilateral cooperation at a governmental and industry level. Areas for discussion include IP and collaborative frameworks, opportunities for work with higher education institutions on research and design, involvement with university spin-outs and start-ups, priorities for encouraging greater skills growth and talent flow across the semiconductor industry, and how the sector can feel the benefits of skills initiatives in the short-term.

Further sessions consider the coordination of UK semiconductor strategy with wider policy, looking at priorities for the work of DSIT’s UK Semiconductor Advisory Panel. We expect discussion on net zero in the context of the energy intensive nature of semiconductor fabrication and use, as well as how to maximise the potential contribution to skills and employment aims, and levelling up ambitions.

We are pleased to be able to include keynote sessions with: Dr Jalal Bagherli, Chairman, Probe Test Solutions; Chair, Williams Advanced Engineering; and Co-chair, UK Semiconductor Advisory Panel; Dr Drew Nelson, Founder, President and Non-Executive Director, IQE; and a senior speaker confirmed from DSIT.

Overall, areas for discussion include:

  • National Semiconductor Strategy:
    • inward investment priorities and levels of government funding - assessing the focus on R&D
    • policy implementation - what is needed for effective delivery - clarity and guidance - achieving core aims
    • mitigating the risk of supply chain disruptions across the industry - establishing a cooperative risk, resilience and manufacturing support strategy
  • Building upon UK semiconductor strengths:
    • growing the UK’s semiconductor domestic sector with a focus on R&D and driving innovation
    • competition and support for new entrants - growing R&D partnerships in the UK and globally - the place and role of university spin-outs in growing the sector
    • how the sector can use government’s post-16 education reforms in apprenticeships, higher technical qualifications and T-levels to increase talent flow and grow skills within the industry
    • keeping pace with sector developments - assisting in the growth of emerging markets such as AI and growth of quantum
  • International priorities:
    • establishing a more coherent international approach to the semiconductor industry
    • assessing UK semiconductor regulation both nationally and internationally - the potential for an international semiconductor strategy
    • next steps for development of UK international research and commercial relationships
    • addressing the impact of key geopolitical factors on the semiconductor supply chain - key issues for industry
  • National policy:
    • linking the development of the UK’s semiconductor industry with levelling up in the UK, as well as the Government’s commitment to net zero and decarbonisation

The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from CCC; DBT; DESNZ; Department for the Economy, NI; DfT; DSIT; FCDO; GCHQ; IPO; Ofcom; UKRI; and the Welsh Government.

While you're there, don't miss Andy Sellars, co-chair of the UKTIN semi-conductors expert working group, speaking about the latest research in this area.

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