A new initiative to drive sovereign semiconductor capability will be established in NSW to support critical local industries including health, defence and telecommunications.
The Semiconductor Sector Service Bureau (S3B) brings together leading experts from the University of Sydney, Macquarie University, UNSW Sydney, CSIRO and the Australian National Fabrication Facility.
University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and President Mark Scott AO said the University of Sydney was well placed to support the NSW Government in developing a homegrown semiconductor industry.
“Universities have long been investing in the very skills, technology and state-of-the-art facilities required to rapidly scale up advanced manufacturing and establish NSW as a global hub in this field.”
Inaugural Director of the S3B Dr Nadia Court, from the University’s Core Research Facilities said the S3B will be the nexus of the semiconductor sector in NSW and Australia.
“The S3B will build connectivity and collaboration, and support commercial impact. It will play a key role in advocating for the sector, connecting companies and researchers with design and manufacturing capabilities globally,” Dr Court said.
The S3B is funded by the NSW Government and will be located at Cicada Innovations, in the heart of Sydney’s Tech Central Precinct.
Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology Alister Henskens said the semiconductor sector had been identified as a local strength in the recently released NSW 20-Year R&D Roadmap, presenting a golden opportunity to grow our economy.
“From computers and smartphones to military communications and medical devices, semiconductors, also known as ‘chips’, drive the technological devices we use every day and are indispensable to many global supply chains,” Mr Henskens said.
“The semiconductor industry has been an engine for economic growth over the last 60 years and the S3B represents an enormous opportunity to secure a brighter future for NSW by accelerating our participation in the global semiconductor market.”
NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte said NSW has a clear competitive advantage when it comes to semiconductors, with most Australian companies already based here.
“Each of the institutions forming this consortium have a long history of innovation within the sector, working closely with Australian leaders in semiconductor technology and major global firms,” said Professor Durrant-Whyte, who is also affiliated with the University’s Faculty of Engineering.
The initiative was founded on a NSW semiconductor industry roadmap prepared by Sydney Nano for the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer in December 2020.
S3B will leverage the University of Sydney's expertise and facilities in nanofabrication to facilitate the scale up of NSW's capabilities in this area.
Director of Core Research Facilities at the University of Sydney, Professor Simon Ringer said: “By building world-class research facilities, Sydney positions itself as the partner of choice for government and industry.”
“I am delighted for the Research Prototype Foundry team and acknowledge their tremendous efforts to get us to this point. I especially look forward to seeing how S3B delivers a new scale in nanofabrication for researchers and industry in NSW and beyond.”
Dr Omid Kavehei from the University of Sydney Nano Institute and School of Biomedical Engineering said: “Expertise in microelectronics design, fabrication and packaging within Core Research Facilities and faculties has great potential to support the S3B initiative’s goal of building sovereign capabilities and creating a high-tech talent-pool for growing this strategically important sector.”