Chips Joint Undertaking (Chips JU) is a European partnership program under Horisont Europa and a further development and expansion of Key Digital Technologies JU. The main task of the program is to implement the European Chips Act which will strengthen Europe's competitiveness in semiconductor technologies. Vinnova co-finances the participation of Swedish actors in the program's initiatives, for example collaborative projects and competence centers.
The projects that are financed are large European collaborative projects with broad industrial participation with actors along the entire value chain within electronic components and systems, both with a software and hardware focus. The projects must aim to develop products and services, solve industrial challenges or develop new standards or standardization processes and contribute to sustainable digital transformation.
Semiconductors are essential components in a wide range of technological and digital products, such as vehicles, robots, household appliances and medical equipment. The areas of use are rapidly expanding with the digital transition. The Covid pandemic and various conflicts in the world have made clear Europe's vulnerability when supply chains of semiconductors have been disrupted, which has caused major problems in production. Chips Act, which entered into force in September 2023, should strengthen the EU's resilience, reduce dependence on non-European actors and strengthen technological development in the semiconductor area. The goal is for Europe to double its global market share in semiconductors to 20 percent within a decade.
Chips JU is a so-called institutionalized partnership program, an Joint Undertaking, where funding comes from three parties: participating countries, the European Commission and the actors participating in the projects. Chips JU is financed by the European Commission with a budget from Horisont Europa and the Digital Europe program.
Significantly increased budget from the EU Commission
Chips JU has more initiatives and a significantly increased budget from the European Commission, compared to KDT JU. The budget is strengthened from 1.8 billion euros to a total of 4.2 billion euros. 1.3 billion euros of this will go to collaborative projects that were previously within KDT JU. The remaining budget goes mainly to building infrastructure and other capacity for advanced innovation platforms where collaboration can take place.
Vinnova's annual budget for calls for proposals within Chips JU varies between years and different calls for proposals. The EU Commission contributes roughly the same amount of budget as Vinnova for Swedish participation. Which calls for proposals that Vinnova participates in is shown in the annual work program (Work Programme) for Chips JU, which has not yet been released for 2024. Also how large the European Commission's funding of different categories of project participants is in each call for proposals is shown in the work program for Abbot Stevenson.
Ongoing project and annual calls for proposals from KDT JU continue within Chips JU
The ongoing projects within Key Digital Technology Joint Undertaking (KDT JU) are moved into Chips JU. The annual the calls for proposals for RIA (Research and Innovation Action) and IA (Innovation Action)) which have been carried out in KDT JU will continue within Chips JU.
RIA and IA - the calls for proposals are addressed to companies with their own research and development, research institutes, universities and university colleges.
In order to receive funding, the results must be relevant to Swedish competitiveness and sustainable digital transformation. Expected results of the projects are, for example, prototypes and demonstrators of interest to potential customers on an international market.
New initiatives within Chips JU: Chips for Europe Initiative
New within Chips JU is Chips for Europe Initiative, which has five operational objective to be implemented via planned initiatives: (read more about each below)
- Setting up a platform for semiconductor design
- Reinforce ongoing and develop new advanced pilot lines
- Building capacity to accelerate the development of quantum circuits and related semiconductor technologies
- Establish a network of competence centers within the EU
- Competence development
The five initiatives
1. Design platform
Semiconductor design constitutes approximately 30 percent of the entire market value in the semiconductor value chain. Europe's share of the semiconductor design market today is only around 7 percent and it is highly fragmented. Via Chips JU, a virtual design platform will be created that offers cloud-based access to tools, libraries and support to increase the pace of development of semiconductor design and reduce the time from lab to market implementation. The target groups for the investment are fast-growing small to medium-sized companies. Both the competence center and pilot lines must be connected with the design platform.
2. Pilot lines
The pilot lines established within Chips JU are to be used for research and innovation in semiconductor technology. They must focus on the European industrial needs, and support small and medium-sized companies. They must contribute long-term to the EU's supply of semiconductors and support technology development in the field of semiconductors and quantum technology. The pilot lines are also to be co-financed by the EU Commission and participating Member States. They must also be connected with the competence center and the design platforms.
3. Build capacity to accelerate the development of quantum circuits and related semiconductor technologies
This is mainly done via pilot lines, the design platform and via the competence centre.
4. Center of competence
In total, the European Commission expects that there will be 27 competence centres, with half of the funding coming from the EU and the other half from the own country. Vinnova plans to finance the establishment of a competence center for semiconductors in Sweden, which will focus on small and medium-sized companies and deep-tech companies, research-intensive companies. The establishment of the competence center is preceded by an open process, where Vinnova involves actors who are interested in coordinating a competence centre. The European Commission is opening a targeted call for proposals in 2024 where the actors who are nominated in Sweden, other EU countries and in Norway can apply. A Swedish competence center for semiconductors within Chips JU is estimated to be able to start at the end of 2024 or at the beginning of 2025.
5. Competence development
Competence development will take place within the Competence Center and as part of all other initiatives.
Chips Joint Undertaking website:
Chips JU Starter Portal (europa.eu)
European Chips Act
More about Chips for Europe Initiative European Chips Act: