A new Semiconductor Sector Service Bureau (S3B) will drive sovereign semiconductor capability in New South Wales, in support of critical industries such as health, defence and telecommunications. S3B will bring together leading experts from the University of Sydney, Macquarie University, UNSW Sydney, CSIRO and the Australian National Fabrication Facility.
On 27 June at the International Conference on the Physics of Semiconductors 2022, the NSW minister for Science, Innovation and Technology Alister Henskens said the semiconductor sector was identified as a local strength in the NSW 20-year R&D Roadmap.
“From computers and smartphones to military communications and medical devices, semiconductors (also known as ‘chips’) drive the technological devices we use every day and are indispensable to many global supply chains,” Henskens said.
Funded by the NSW government, the $6 million initiative will be established at Sydney’s tech incubator, Cicada Innovations. S3B is expected to foster connectivity and collaboration, and support commercialisation.
S3B will provide brokering services for local firms, enabling access to semiconductor facilities globally and connecting companies and researchers with design and manufacturing capabilities globally. S3B will focus on developing the skills of the local industry, providing semiconductor design micro-credential courses.
While S3B will focus on collaboration, skills and connectivity, the newly announced Advanced Manufacturing Research Facility in Bradfield in Sydney’s west will provide facilities for advanced semiconductor and electronics manufacturing. This $260 million facility is expected to be operational by 2026.
Australia has capacity and competitive advantage in quantum research. Sydney-based Silicon Quantum Computing recently announced it had engineered the world’s first integrated circuit manufactured at an atomic scale. The breakthrough sparked hopes of a bigger role in changing semiconductor supply chains.
However, when compared with Europe, Australia’s semiconductor sector is comparatively small. There is ample opportunity to grow local manufacturing and capture a larger share of the global supply chain, particularly in the area of design.
S3B will help local manufacturers play a role in global supply chains, creating new jobs and new revenue streams. It will help local manufacturers forge connections in the booming global semiconductor market, which is forecast to be worth $1.46 trillion by 2030.