The UK has joined the European Union’s ‘Chips Joint Undertaking’ (CJU) program as a “participating state,” providing the country with access to a €1.3 billion (around $1.4bn) semiconductor research and development fund.

As a participating state, the UK will have a role in setting research priorities and funding decisions as the fund evolves in the future.

EU Chips
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Access to this fund is being backed by an initial £5 million ($6.4m) from the UK government, with an additional £30m ($38.4m) to be put forward between 2025-2027 to support the UK’s continued participation in the program.

The CJU is an EU public-private partnership, partly funded by the EU’s R&D program Horizon Europe. The CJU has a budget of €11bn ($12bn) to be spent by 2030.

The UK rejoined Horizon Europe – a European research and innovation program that itself has a €95.5bn ($103bn) budget – last year, having left after the country voted to leave the EU in 2016.

Rejoining the program means UK businesses are now eligible for Horizon Europe grants, which are worth an average of £450,000 ($575,687). For interested organizations, the deadline for Phase 1 applications is May 14, 2024.

Officially inaugurated in November 2023, the CJU aims to address semiconductor shortages and strengthen Europe's digital autonomy.

Projects the program is currently looking to fund include advanced quantum chips technology; developing technology for 2nm chips; establishing a chip manufacturing talent pipeline; and developing chips that use material other than silicon.

“We are very happy to welcome the UK to the Chips Joint Undertaking as a participating state,” said Jari Kinaret, executive director of the CJU. “We are looking forward to working with the UK partners to develop the European industrial ecosystem in microelectronics and its applications, contributing to the continent’s scientific excellence and innovation leadership in semiconductor technologies and related fields.”

The UK’s technology minister, Saqib Bhatti, added: “Our membership of the Chips Joint Undertaking will boost Britain’s strengths in semiconductor science and research to secure our position in the global chip supply chain.

“This underscores our unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of technology and cements our important role in shaping the future of semiconductor technologies around the world.”