Europe Catches Up In IC Technology

Ten years after Europe decided to catch up with the Americans and Japanese in chip technology by setting up the 1984 Megaproject followed by the pan-European Jessi IC R&D programme, a conference was held in Grenoble to announce success.

Europe has caught up with the rest of the world in microelectronics technology, it was declared at the Jessi Round Table Conference in Grenoble in 1994.

Jurgen Knorr, CEO of Siemens Semiconductor, said: “Jessi is a must. After ten years European industries realise that microelectronics is a basic tool – it took a long time but now even federal structures appreciate that.”

Knorr pointed out that Jessi had directly given world leadership to Europe in some technologies – for instance in wireless communications with chip-set products to meet GSM and DECT standards defined by Jessi.

There is no technology gap” asserted Pasquale Pistorio, CEO of SGS-Thomson Semiconductors, “we have made it up. Our half micron CMOS is the best that Bull has found – and that’s because of this terrific contribution from Jessi.”

Pistorio added: “We still need to have this money from governments for two reasons: one because our competitors get this aid; and second because we are only one third to one quarter the size of our competitors in Japan and a lot of work is necessary to reach the same level.”

Jessi president Heinz Hagmeister, CEO of Philips Semiconductor, said: “We are the world leader in developing DAB (digital audio broadcast) chip-sets and world leader in producing chip-sets for GSM and ATM.”

Hagmeister pointed out that the Jessi-spawned stepper company ASM is now the third largest stepper company in the world, that Jessi-backed Wacker is the world’s largest supplier of eight inch wafers and that Schlumberger’s ATE equipment and Leybold’s Plasma Etch module were in the world-beater class.

“Microelectronics” concluded Hagmeister is the cornerstone of the economic wealth of our industrial society – essential for economic independence and prosperity.”



  1. Well Yes, Fin (if I may call you that) but with ASML’s 450mm now funded by International sources and Imec the same, one wonders where, exactly, the EU could help. Maybe Future Horizons’ idea of the EU paying for the construction of a small volume 450mm fab would be a good way to go.

  2. The transition to 450mm offers an opportunity (possibly the last one…) for Europe to get real about nanoelectronics research. IMEC (with considerable help from the Flemish government) and ASML (investment from Intel, TSMC, Samsung) have been really driving this but the EU and the other national governments have to step up too. The window of opportunity is closing.

  3. Yes Ian I’d expect a three word title for a Scottish chip R&D programme. Something like Thane of McThane, Fin of McFinfet or Kyles of Lochalsh

  4. A project called Jessi would never fly in Scotland. 🙂 It’s how one might refer to someone who is scared of something, a big jessie.

  5. Absolutely, DontAgree, and Imec and ARM are world-class too.

  6. Well let’s not be too negative, ASML is still world class …

  7. Absolutely Keith the next generation of CEOs pissed away the inheritance.

  8. And then they pissed it all away…

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