Article 4: Objectives of the Initiative
1. The general objective of the Initiative is to support large-scale technological capacity building and innovation throughout the Union to enable development and deployment of cutting-edge and next generation semiconductor and quantum technologies that will reinforce the Union advanced design, systems integration and chips production capabilities, as well as contribute to the achievement of the twin digital and green transition.
2. The Initiative shall have the following five operational objectives:
(a) building up advanced large-scale design capacities for integrated semiconductor technologies. This operational objective shall be achieved through:
(1) building up an innovative virtual platform, available across the Union, integrating existing and new design facilities with extended libraries and Electronic Design Automation (EDA) tools;
(2) upgrading the design capacity with ongoing innovative developments, such as processor architectures based on the open-source Reduced Instruction Set Computer Architecture (RISC-V);
(3) enlarging the semiconductor ecosystem by integrating the vertical market sectors, contributing to the green, digital and innovation agendas of the Union.
(b) enhancing existing and developing new advanced pilot lines. This operational objective shall be achieved through:
(1) strengthening technological capabilities in next generation chips production technologies, by integrating research and innovation activities and preparing the development of future technology nodes, including leading-edge nodes below two nanometres, Fully Depleted Silicon on Insulator (FD-SOI) at 10 nanometres and below, and 3D heterogeneous systems integration and advanced packaging;
(2) supporting large scale innovation through access to new or existing pilot lines for experimentation, test, and validation of new design concepts integrating key functionalities, such as novel materials and architectures for power electronics fostering sustainable energy and electro mobility, lower energy consumption, security, higher levels of computing performance or integrating breakthrough technologies such as neuromorphic and embedded artificial intelligence (Al) chips, integrated photonics, graphene and other 2D material based technologies;
(3) providing support to Integrated Production Facilities and Open EU Foundries through priority access to the new pilot lines.
(c) building advanced technology and engineering capacities for accelerating the innovative development of quantum chips.
(d) creating a network of competence centres across the Union, in order to
(1) strengthen capacities and offer a wide range of expertise to the stakeholders, including end-user SMEs and start-ups, facilitating access to and effective use of the above capacities and facilities;
(2) address the skills shortage, attracting and mobilising new talent and supporting the emergence of a suitably skilled workforce for strengthening the semiconductor sector, including via reskilling and upskilling of workers.
(e) undertaking activities, to be described collectively as a 'Chips Fund' activities to facilitate access to debt financing and equity by start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs and other companies in the semiconductor value chain, through a blending facility under the InvestEU Fund and via the European Innovation Council, with a view to:
(1) improving the leverage effect of the Union budget spending and achieving a higher multiplier effect in terms of attracting private-sector financing.
(2) providing support to companies facing difficulties in accessing finance, and addressing the need to underpin the economic resilience of the Union and its Member States;
(3) accelerating investment in the field of semiconductor manufacturing technologies and chip design and to leveraging funding from both the public and the private sectors, while increasing the security of supply for the whole semiconductor value chain.
Note: This is not the final text of the European Chips Act. This is the text of the European Chips Act Proposal of February 2022.