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Brussels, 22 June 2007

Massive €3bn research boost for tiny electronics as Commission, Member States and industry join forces

A new world of electronics, this time in miniature, will soon take a major step forward as the Commission adopted today its proposal to launch a Europe-wide public-private research partnership in nanoelectronics, called ENIAC. With an expected budget of €3bn from industry, Member States and the Commission it will create a strong nanoelectronics research and manufacturing sector in Europe. This will ultimately generate innovative products with in-built intelligence in countless areas such as the consumer electronics, automotive, healthcare and environmental management sectors.

"Semiconductor chips are the engine of the information revolution. They are continuously shrinking in size but growing in power and performance. This is a race in which Europe must look to new nanoelectronic techniques to keep up," said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media. "Together with industry and Member States, the new joined technology initiative launched by the Commission today will ensure Europe maintains its lead in this field, guaranteeing growth and jobs for future generations."

ENIAC will target the next level of miniaturisation required to cross the threshold from micro to nanoelectronics, as more and more functions are integrated into simple commercial products. This technology will drive new breakthroughs in communication and computing (intelligence in every object), transport (in-built electronics permitting more assisted driving, greater autonomy for vehicles, and safer and more secure traffic control), healthcare (new forms of medical care leading to comfortable treatment at home and early detection of diseases thanks to intelligent portable medical equipment or in-built intelligence in everyday objects), energy and environmental management (intelligent buildings monitoring and reducing energy use, and small, clever, cheap devices networked to monitor and manage pollution and environmental risks), security and safety, and entertainment.

ENIAC is a Joint Technology Initiative (JTI), a new type of Europe-wide public-private-partnerships that targets critical industries where existing mechanisms cannot deliver the scale and speed of response needed to keep Europe ahead of global competition (see IP/07/668). These are areas where the pooling of national, European and industrial funding for research can yield significant added value, in particular by creating incentives for increased private research and development spending.

The ENIAC initiative will be run through a Joint Undertaking, to be established by Council Regulation under Community law later this year. The Joint Undertaking is expected to begin at the start of 2008.

Between 2008 and 2013 60% of the expected €3 billion nanoelectronics research fund will come from industry and the rest from the Commission, and Member and Associated States, all partners in the Joint Undertaking. Each euro of EU funding should generate €7-8 of research.

The industrial partners will be represented by AENEAS, a non-profit industrial association. Membership of AENEAS is open to large industries, small and medium-sized enterprises, research institutes, academia, and associations active in nanoelectronics.

ENIAC follows the launch in May this year of one of the first JTIs, ARTEMIS, which focuses on embedded systems research (see IP/07/668).

For more information on JTIs see MEMO/07/191.

For European nanoelectronics' research:

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