Paul van Gerven
8 May 2023

The University of Twente is backing the decision of IC design professor Bram Nauta to refuse a research collaboration with Nexperia. Nauta and his employer are wary of the chipmaker’s Chinese owner. “A few years ago, a collaboration with Nexperia wouldn’t have been an issue, just like we could also work with Huawei. That’s no longer possible,” Nauta told the newspaper Tubantia (link in Dutch).

UT letters
Credit: Pollus Fornerod/CC-BY-4.0

Nexperia approached Nauta for a research project involving power ICs. Although it would be a good match with the work being done at his IC Design group, the professor feared the results would ultimately be commercialized in China. Following a consultation with the UT’s Knowledge Safety Team, he decided against the collaboration. Vinod Subramaniam, president of the university’s executive board, fully supports that decision.

Although it insists that it operates independently as a Dutch company, Wingtech-owned Nexperia has suffered from souring diplomatic and economic relations between China and the West. The UK government has blocked the takeover of a wafer fab in Wales and the Dutch authorities intend to perform a security review of the acquisition of Delft-based power management specialist Nowi.