The Flemish government is committed to investing in a new cleanroom for Imec in Leuven. Parties have signed a letter of intent to that end. The investment is linked to the outcome of Imec’s negotiations with the European Commission to get a subsidy under the EU Chips Act, for a maximum of 750 million euros. Flanders will match this amount in the form of a loan repayable by the research center through the rent of the cleanroom. The financial support is necessary to expand the facility with state-of-the-art equipment and processes and thereby maintain Imec’s world-leading position. Recently, ASML already committed to installing a full suite of its most advanced tools in Leuven.
“The support of the Flemish government and ASML is a milestone in our ambition to further expand our chip pilot line, which is the most advanced in the world,” says Imec CEO Luc Van den hove. “Here, our partners from industry and academia can test the impact and importance of advanced chip technology as an engine for innovation in areas such as healthcare, mobility and energy transition at a very early stage and develop disruptive solutions. This will give an economic boost to our region.”
“Recent developments, such as the energy crisis, only confirm the importance of autonomy in strategic sectors that are fundamental to keep our modern economy running and ready for a strong position in the future,” comments Flemish Minister of Innovation Jo Brouns. “With the Chips Act, the European Union is taking the step of confirming this autonomy also in the field of digitalization and digital hardware. Flanders, together with Imec, wants to continue to play a leading role.”
Flemish PM Jan Jambon adds, “Imec grew out of Flanders Technology in the 1980s. Back then, Flanders made the bold choice to invest fully in chip technology. Forty years later, these chips are of enormous strategic importance and we’re witnessing the great breakthrough of AI. Imec can and must again assume a pioneering role here. This major investment by the Flemish government hasn’t come out of the blue. Flanders wants to remain an innovative leader in the fifth industrial revolution and is therefore launching a new edition of Flanders Technology & Innovation in 2024.”