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France pledges support for Crolles3 project

Posted: 14 Jul 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Crolles3 alliance? microelectronics? R&D? nanotechnology?

Aiming to foster innovation in microelectronics in the Grenoble area, France has agreed to provide subsidies to a new alliance between STMicroelectronics NV, IBM Corp. and the CEA. The "Nano 2012" strategic investment program, commonly called "Crolles3", represents an investment of 3.6 billion euros ($5.65 billion) and is expected to create 650 new jobs.

The Nano 2012 strategic investment program targets to provide competitive access to microelectronics systems, to develop derivative technologies and to enhance the area's competitive edge, especially with regard to Southeast Asia. The program has been defined by ST, IBM, CEA and local authorities.

The ultimate goal, noted project partners, is to make the Grenoble area the "world center for the development of 32nm and 22nm CMOS technologies and their derivatives, with potential for creating 650 new jobs at Crolles and Grenoble."

In February, the French government announced it had agreed to provide subsidies for ST sites in Crolles and in Grenoble, France. This decision followed an in-depth analysis of the group's development program from 2008 until 2012, submitted in July 2007.

"Subject to ST's ability to fulfill its commitments and to local authorities' responses, the French State is prepared to play its role so as to maintain an exceptional ecosystem around Crolles and Grenoble in the field of nanoelectronics," the Ministry of Finance, Economy and Industry said.

The amount of the subsidies then remained to be negotiated.

A total of 3.4 million euros ($5.36 million) was invested in the Crolles2 Alliance for the period 2002-2007. Partners said they are ready to commit themselves to another comparable investment consisting of a 2.37 billion euros ($3.74 billion) R&D program coupled with capital investment by ST amounting to $1.25 billion.

National and local government said their contributions are slated to exceed 500 million euros ($789 million) "to create the conditions for an exceptional ecosystem and keep the micro and nanotechnology industry in Grenoble-Isre at the top of the global ranking."

The Crolles2 Alliance was formed in 2000 and renewed in 2002 when Freescale (then Motorola) joined the existing alliance of ST and NXP (then Philips Semiconductors) to create and manufacture future generation technologies and SoC solutions more quickly and more cost-effectively. TSMC joined the Alliance in 2001 as an associated partner.

- Anne-Francoise Pele
EE Times Europe

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