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Taiwanese University Establishes College of Semiconductor Research

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National Tsing Hua University’s (NTHU) plan to establish a College of Semiconductor Research (CoSR) has been approved by the Ministry of Education and student recruitment will soon follow. The President of NTHU said that the institute will be headed by the Academician of Academia Sinica, whose research in immersion lithography has had a major impact on the semiconductor industry worldwide. With NTHU’s strength in technology and interdisciplinary studies, the CoSR will certainly become a major force in semiconductor research.

This college will consist of four disciplines: Semiconductor Device, Semiconductor Design, Semiconductor Process, and Semiconductor Material. Each year it will enrol about 80 master’s students and 20 doctoral students. The first batch of students will be admitted as early as the spring of 2022.

NTHU is the only university in Taiwan that has three Nobel laureates amongst its alumni. NTHU has been rated among the top 100 schools worldwide in electrical engineering and computer science, materials science, physics, chemistry, chemical engineering, machinery, and statistics—placing it in an excellent position to turn out graduates with a broad-based creative vision, the basis of cutting-edge tech research.

Domestic universities already turn out plenty of graduates for the semiconductor industry in Taiwan, so that the CoSR’s main focus should be on raising the nation’s international competitiveness. To realise this vision, NTHU wants to cultivate each student into a specialist, generalist, innovator and problem solver.

Students first acquire the ability to dig deep in a given field of semiconductor technology, thus become sought-after specialists. However, semiconductor technology encompasses too many fields for any individual to comprehend all. They have to work with people of other disciplines as a team. They need to be proficient in related fields to communicate with other specialists, thus, have to be a generalist.

Besides being broad, the technology also progresses at an awesome pace. The specialist/generalist got to be able to solve new problems and be innovative for revolutionary approaches. Only when someone is fully proficient in all three aspects will he be able to become a formidable leader in semiconductor research.

The semiconductor industry is growing in Taiwan and one of the reasons is because of the adoption of AI to help with the design of increasingly complicated processes while cutting R&D time and costs. Taiwan ranked 12th in the 2019 Global Competitiveness Report issued by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum, which also praised Taiwan as one of the world’s top four super innovators in 2018 and 2019.

AI is having a notable impact on the growth of the semiconductor industry by helping with the design of increasingly complicated processes. The world’s largest contract chipmaker has already committed itself to spend US$100 billion on related R&D and capacity expansion over the next three years.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, Taiwan has long been a crucial partner in the global supply chain of semiconductor design and fabrication, typically assembling products for other companies to sell under their own brand. But alongside this industry are a host of homegrown Taiwanese companies manufacturing and marketing their own products globally.

Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute stated that the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) ecosystem of companies is the reason to remain at the cutting-edge of ICT innovation in such a hyper-competitive industry.

Taiwanese tech companies tend to form clusters around various industry subsegments, allowing them to collaborate and rapidly explore possibilities. They find ways to improve on existing technologies and refine manufacturing efficiencies, allowing them to become globally competitive thanks to the speed of iterative innovation.

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