Dr. Rutger Wijburg, senior vice president of GLOBALFOUNDRIES Fab 1 (Dresden, Germany), and Fab 8 (Malta, USA) mentioned in his welcoming speech to the crowd, made of several dozen representatives from education, business, politics, and to the media that the immanent role of microelectronics will be combining economics, and technology as a boundary object. There is no field in daily life which is untouched by microelectronics, making this field even more relevant in the future than it is already today.
State Secretary Hartmut Fiedler mentioned Minister Rösler's visit to Silicon Valley earlier this year, and also the visit of Peter Thiel (here video about his visit [German]) to Berlin on September 2, 2013 on Minister Rösler's invite. Together with mentioning his own visit with members of the Saxon State Government to the "Tech Valley" in upper New York State, where GLOBALFOUNDRIES Fab8 is located, it became quite clear in the room that "speed of innovation is not an option".
With the most recent decision by SEMI International Association, San José, to split the most prominent trade fair about microelectronics, SEMICONEuropa, between the clusters in Grenoble and Dresden on rotating yearly basis, it became ever more relevant to hear what Minister Philipp Rösler had to offer.
|Minister Philipp Rösler|
His main points however, especially in respect to the big players in the microelectronics field in Germany, were on the EEG (Renewable Energy Sources Act). In its current version it's forcing energy prices to go up, harming energy intensive industries in their competitiveness with the world market. Which once was meant to accelerate the renewable energy production has led to a misallocation of money. His second focus point was on making the startup conditions for entrepreneurs and innovators in the "non-apps world" easier in Germany, not only on the financial side (which some voices from the audience were drawing attention to) but also on the surrounding conditions. These are by far, concerning transparency, speed, interdisciplinary, not similar today to what can be observed in Silicon Valley, which btw also started very much as largely public project funded.
In the follow-up public discussion financing issues for scaling startups, and the lack of a viable, and visible VC capital (venture capital) scene especially in Saxony came up. These questions could not be answered in this round, but set a clear signal. Silicon Saxony as the main European hotspot in microelectronics, including adjacent fields like nanotech, life sciences, computer science, and organic electronics has the potential to reach up to the envisioned future by enabling the entrepreneurial spirit to flourish in the region once again.