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Investment in engineering education provides boost to Dutch chip sector

The University of Twente is developing a plan together with institutions in scientific and vocational education in the Groningen, Delft, Eindhoven and Twente regions to educate more technical talent. This is needed to strengthen and preserve the Netherlands' chip sector. The cabinet presented plans to this end last week. The so-called 'Beethoven' project includes a substantial investment in engineering education. A one-off 450 million euros is available for education for the period until 2030, and after that, structurally around 80 million euros per year.

Shortage of technical talent

In the Netherlands, too few youngsters choose for a technical study programme. As a result, there is an increasing shortage of technically skilled personnel in the labour market. The number of vacancies continues to rise unabated. The shortage of technical talent is disastrous for the development of, for instance, the chip sector in the Netherlands. Although The Netherlands are a global leader in this technology, that position is under pressure. From both an economic and social perspective, it is relevant to stay ahead.

Vinod Subramaniam, president of the University of Twente: "It is of great importance that we make a joint effort to attract and educate technical talent and it is crucial that additional resources are now made available for this. Together with Saxion, ROC van Twente and the Twente Board, we are developing a plan for the regional contribution to the national ambition. Here, we are working with the other regions and our partner, Brainport. The precise plans will take further shape in the coming months."

Chip technology in Twente

Chip technology is an important carrier of the innovative ecosystem in Twente, driving regional economic growth, but also for the Dutch chip sector as a whole. The various top technology regions in the Netherlands reinforce each other by collaborating closely. Twente, for instance, has a series of companies that are connected within ChipTech Twente, that are indispensable suppliers to the flagship of the Dutch chip sector, ASML: there are many companies comprising a total turnover of more than a billion. They are of strategic value for ASML's value chain and maintain the Netherlands' strategic position in Semicon, such as VDL-ETG, Demcon High Tech Systems, Benchmark Electronics and NTS Norma. 

In Twente, fundamental research from the university and entrepreneurship come together in world-leading innovative activity. Research at UT is very strong in the field of chip design, including through the work of Professor Bram Nauta, who received the Stevin Prize last year. Several UT scientists play a prominent role in national and international innovation programmes in areas such as Semicon, chip design, photonics, microfluidics and mechatronics. Recently, ambitions were expressed to realise an independent production facility for hybrid photonic chips, the first in the Netherlands. This should make it easier for companies to develop new photonic technology or integrate the technology into their products.

L.P.W. van der Velde MSc (Laurens)
Spokesperson Executive Board (EB)
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