ASML and TU/e invest over 180 million euros in chip collaboration

Chip machine manufacturer ASML and TU/e are expanding their collaboration. Today, TU/e Executive Board President Robert-Jan Smits and CFO of ASML Roger Dassen are signing an agreement on the construction of a cleanroom, among other things. ASML will invest more than 80 million euros in the collaboration in the next decade, TU/e “more than a hundred million”.

The foundation of this enhanced collaboration was already laid last year when ASML and TU/e signed a memorandum of understanding. Today’s announcement builds on this. The closer collaboration between ASML and TU/e means that in addition to a new cleanroom on the TU/e campus, “almost a hundred PhD students” will conduct research in areas “relevant to the chip sector” over the next decade. ASML’s 80 million euro investment will be spread out across those ten years. According to a TU/e press release, it is the largest agreement ever with an “industrial partner”.

At TU/e, some 700 researchers are currently working on ‘semicon’, aka semiconductors, which are essential for the manufacturing of computer chips. The outgoing cabinet recently announced that it’s investing 2.5 billion euros in the Eindhoven region (Project Beethoven). That money is intended to further the growth of TU/e and other education institutions, but investments are mainly made in infrastructure, retaining technology companies such as ASML and NXP, and expansion of Eindhoven railway station.

New cleanroom

TU/e translated Project Beethoven into the ‘Future Chips Flagships’ initiative. The university wants to double the current number of chip researchers. The new cleanroom to be constructed, co-funded by a capital injection by AMSL, is to be bigger and more modern than the existing cleanroom on campus. “This lab building will be a top facility focused on research, education and startups in the field of semiconductors,” the press release reads.

CFO Roger Dassen has high expectations from the intensified cooperation. "The market for semiconductors is about $500 billion worldwide," Dassen said at the official meeting where the agreement was signed. "Experts expect that to double to $1,000 billion or perhaps $1,300 billion." The energy transition and the advance of artificial intelligence, for example, require more and more powerful chips.

To keep up with that demand, ASML wants to recruit 20,000 people in the Eindhoven region over the next few years. "I am very happy with this cooperation," Dassen said. "Because training talent is the bottle neck for growth." With the cooperation, ASML is investing, according to Dassen, "in science in the Netherlands and in training experts." 

TU/e Board Chairman Robert-Jan Smits said at the ceremony that he wanted to contribute to the European agenda with this collaboration. With the 'Chips Act' adopted in 2023, the European Union wants to stimulate the chip industry. By increasing its own production of chips, Europe should become less dependent on supplies from other continents, which could be disrupted in case of geopolitical skirmishes. 

"We will invest together, expanding Brainport's position as the Netherlands' leading semicon hotspot," Smits said. "This development once again demonstrates the special strength of TU/e in terms of cooperation with industry and our central position in Brainport." 


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