MIDAS Ireland, the industry led organisation responsible for promoting the microelectronics industry, held its annual conference today in Dublin. Attended by leaders from across the microelectronics sector, the conference entitled Microelectronics – Innovation All Around Us, highlighted Ireland’s capacity as a global leader in the industry in Ireland, the opportunities that exist and how these opportunities can be realised.
Taking place as part of Microelectronics Week 2012 the conference was addressed by a number of key figures from leading international and indigenous microelectronics companies within the industry including Intel, Analog Devices, LSI, Silicon Laboratories Ireland and Redmere/Spectra7.
Addressing the conference, Tony Stelliga, CEO, Redmere/Spectra7, outlined the potential in Ireland to create a world class microelectronics hub explaining that key components required are already in place to realise this: “Over the last four decades a thriving microelectronics industry has been developed in Ireland and I believe Ireland can be a key global player in this sector. We have the right matrix to be a world leader in a market that is open for business. There are four key components required to achieve this, all of which are very much in place in this country already: firstly, high value manufacturing fabrication facilities – two of which Ireland has in Intel and Analog Devices; secondly, a strong technical university education system – this is one of Ireland’s core strengths and in fact Ireland has some of the best recognised engineering faculties in the world; thirdly, applied research, citing Tyndall Research as an EU leading facility, and finally, an active venture capitalist community, something which is particularly evident in the current climate. In order to win, we need to keep driving collaboration within the industry, which is why MIDAS Ireland and the work it is carrying out is a key stone within this sector.”
Also at the conference, Martin Curley, Vice President of Intel Corporation and Director of Intel Labs Europe spoke about the sustainability of the microelectronics industry in Ireland and how this could be achieved through clustering: “A key focus area for the microelectronics industry going forward is how we can sustain the success story we have developed here in Ireland. To this end, we need to explore how we can more effectively reap the benefits of clustering within the sector through building business links between the various companies across the country. The local availability of a critical mass of expertise — in institutions and in other businesses—can greatly assist this process. The building of clusters and linkages between companies, third level institutions and international partners is vital if companies are to access local, national and international knowledge and expertise. We have a number of IT based clusters already here in Ireland and we need to ensure our goal is to add microelectronics to that list.”
Echoing the necessity for a collective approach to capitalize on the growth opportunities that exist for the industry, John Blake, Chairman, MIDAS Ireland said: “Today’s conference is all about highlighting the activity within the microelectronics sector in Ireland, the opportunities that exist and the work that is needed to capitalize on them. We are a sector that currently employs over 8,000 people in over 55 companies, contributing €6bn annually in exports to the Irish economy. Research MIDAS Ireland has published just this week has forecast that 1300 new jobs will be generated in the sector over the next three years. In our current economic climate this is an opportunity that simply cannot be missed. To seize the opportunities which are open and take things to the next level, it is vital that collectively as an industry we collaborate and work together to ensure a bright future for the microelectronics sector in Ireland. We’ve had a great week of focus on the sector and today has been a great discussion with the leaders of this industry. I look forward to working with Government and industry over the next twelve months to progress the profile of the industry and ensure the growth potential is achieved.”
Today’s conference took place as part of Microelectronics Week which concludes on the 9th of November and has seen a number of activities taking place. These included the launch of an education competition aimed at third level sector, a Start-Up Seminar for entrepreneurial community and a series of open day events hosted by microelectronics industry companies, universities and associations.