Introducing the Semiconductors Expert Working Group

Introducing the Semiconductors Expert Working Group

The UKTIN Expert Working Groups bring together academic and industry leaders and experts, governmental and regulatory specialists, and representative bodies to explore the opportunities, gaps and challenges in the UK telecoms ecosystem. Bringing to bear their collective expertise, the groups aim to identify where the UK can lead and how the UK ecosystem as a whole can benefit from various opportunities. UKTIN spoke to Rupert Baines, Co-Chair of the Semiconductors Expert Working Group to learn more.

  1. What experience do you have working in semiconductors?

    I’ve worked in semiconductors for around 30 years, based in the US, continental Europe and the UK. I’ve worked for a range of companies, including both start-ups and big corporations such as Analog Devices and Mindspeed. I’ve been involved with IDMs, fabless and businesses focused on IP. 

  2.  Please tell us about the Semiconductors Expert Working Group.

    We have an expert working group of 20-odd industry professionals from a variety of different backgrounds. It kicked off in September, representing the breadth of semiconductors and telecoms, and how they intersect. We have done a couple of iterations of the final version of our first report - a future capability paper - which should be ready in May. There will be a second report after that. 

  3. What excites you most about working in this space?

    Semiconductors are the basis for all modern technologies, including mobile phones, AI and broadband. They give us a jumpstart on the future. The products people are designing now are the ones that will come to market in three or four years. Seeing societal innovations early on is incredibly exciting.

  4. How significant are semiconductors in the broader telecoms landscape? And how is this changing?

    Since the 1960s, semiconductors have been fundamental in all aspects of telecoms. Modern telecoms would not be possible without the advances in leading-edge integrated circuits. 

  5. The UK has a particular strength in semiconductors – why is that and, in your opinion, are there opportunities to more fully capitalise on that?

    The UK has got much more strength in semiconductors than people appreciate. There is a real concentration of talent. We have world-class expertise in semiconductors, photonics and processor design, as well as system integration. This is also geographically dispersed: there are clusters dotted around the country, including in Scotland and South Wales. But how can we make the most of these capabilities? That is the focus of the EWG’s recommendations. We want to leverage those strengths to increase jobs and exports while boosting the UK economy.

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