Semiconductor design in U.K. comes under the microscope - Embedded.com

Semiconductor design in U.K. comes under the microscope

LONDON — A survey of U.K. semiconductor design has found the sector is well recognized at an international level and business confidence is high.

“The survey really does confirm the lead the country has taken in cutting edge analog and digital design, with many significant R&D projects underway or in the planning,” according to John Moor, the survey's instigator and director of marketing at the National Microelectronics Institute.

“The business outlook in the U.K. semiconductor design sector is also clearly very positive, with many companies initiating recruitment drives and foreseeing an increase in the number of design starts during the coming year.”

The research was conducted from January to March 2006. The Institute polled 450 organizations involved in all aspects of semiconductor design and development. The survey included IDMs, fabless companies, IP developers, design service providers and research organizations located throughout the U.K. and Ireland.

The survey identified more than 8,500 design engineering personnel involved in semiconductor design in the U.K.

In terms of product application areas, the survey recognized telecommunication as by far the U.K.'s strongest, being the design focus of 22 percent of respondents, with 15 percent attributed to activity in wireless communication. Those involved in digital video and audio accounted for 13 percent.

The report also described how U.K.-owned, vertically integrated “national champions” have given way to a new breed of leaner fabless, IP and design service organizations in the U.K. They are rapidly emerging as global niche market leaders.

The fact that the vast majority of design engineers in the U.K. are employed by foreign-owned companies was seen by the report as evidence of the market's confidence in the U.K.'s semiconductor design capability.

Published by the National Microelectronics Institute, “Designed in the U.K.” is a 55-page report that details the scale and composition of the sector, its application focus and the key challenges.

Membership in the nonprofit Institute includes fabless semiconductor manufacturers, IDMs, foundries, design services, IP providers, research and academic institutions.

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