Monday 12 June 2023UK’s £1 billion strategy for semiconductors

New £1 billion strategy for UK’s semiconductor sector – Investment for this UK sector, Protection of IP and greater supply chain security?

The UK government has unveiled a new 20-year plan, the National Semiconductor Strategy, aimed at securing and strengthening the country’s position as a global science and technology superpower in the semiconductor industry. This comprehensive strategy not only focuses on the benefits of the UK’s security supply chain but also addresses key challenges while emphasising the protection of intellectual property (IP), growing global resilience through the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and reducing reliance on component supply from China.

The strategy recognises the importance of protecting intellectual property, an essential aspect of the semiconductor industry. Intellectual property rights ensure that innovation is rewarded and incentivised, fostering continued growth and advancement. By doubling down on design, research, and advanced chip leadership, the UK aims to strengthen its IP protection regime, creating an environment that drives innovation and supports domestic chip firms. This focus on IP protection will attract investment, encourage collaboration, and secure the UK’s position as a leader in cutting-edge semiconductor technologies.

Furthermore, the strategy acknowledges the need for global resilience in the semiconductor industry. In this regard, the UK government is committed to leveraging the opportunities presented by the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Joining this trade agreement will enhance the UK’s access to a diverse range of semiconductor markets, reducing dependence on any single region. By collaborating with CPTPP member countries, the UK can strengthen supply chains, share best practices, and build resilient networks, ensuring a more stable and robust semiconductor ecosystem.

Reducing reliance on component supply from China is another crucial aspect addressed in the strategy. While recognising the importance of international cooperation, the UK government aims to diversify its supply chains to reduce overreliance on any single country. By fostering partnerships with a wide range of countries and regions, the UK can ensure a more balanced and secure supply chain, reducing vulnerabilities and mitigating risks associated with geopolitical factors. This diversification will enhance the UK’s ability to maintain a steady supply of essential components, thus safeguarding the semiconductor industry against potential disruptions.

The strategy’s multi-faceted approach encompasses strengthening security, protecting intellectual property, growing global resilience through the CPTPP, and reducing reliance on component supply from China. By investing up to £1 billion in the next decade, the government aims to bolster the UK’s strengths in semiconductor design, research and development, and compound semiconductors, while supporting the growth of domestic chip firms. This investment will not only drive research, innovation and commercialisation while driving international cooperation, enabling the UK to lead in technological breakthroughs and maintain a competitive edge in the global semiconductor industry.

By prioritising the protection of intellectual property, the strategy creates an environment conducive to innovation, attracting investments and facilitating collaboration. Joining the CPTPP strengthens the UK’s position in the global semiconductor market, promoting resilient supply chains, and providing access to diverse markets. Additionally, diversifying supply chains and reducing reliance on component supply from China enhances the UK’s ability to navigate potential disruptions, ensuring the stability and security of the semiconductor sector.

Overall, the National Semiconductor Strategy demonstrates the UK government’s commitment to strengthening the country’s semiconductor industry while addressing challenges and seizing opportunities. Through strategic investments, collaboration, and a focus on IP protection, global resilience, and reduced dependence on specific regions, the UK aims to solidify its position as a leading force in the semiconductor sector, driving economic growth, fostering innovation, and securing its role as a global science and technology superpower.

Read the UK Government press release here: