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European technology policy and R&D consortia: the case of semiconductors

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Government policies have played a decisive role in the semiconductor industry since it was born. They evolved during the 1980s as a result of the pressure exerted by innovation and R&D. Governments were forced to re-direct their policies at that time to develop "technology policies" in an industry considered to be strategic. This sector is encouraged and actively supported, which leads to cooperative initiatives among (national) firms. Many public R&D programmes now exist in most countries. This paper deals with technology policy and collaboration in the European semiconductor industry. It demonstrates that R&D consortia are mainly viewed as a means to improve Europe's competitiveness and to catch-up with foreign competitors. We briefly discuss the impact of co-operative research on restoring the competitiveness of European semiconductor firms.

Keywords: co-operative R&, D, European competitiveness, semiconductors, technology policy

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