Southampton at heart of plan to drive future of semiconductors vital to our technology

The future of semiconductors – which are used to power billions of electrical items worldwide – will be driven by the University of Southampton after it allied with big tech businesses to develop a new generation of skilled workers.

Experts from the university have joined the launch of the new Semiconductor Education Alliance which intends to address global shortages of electronic device designers and upskill the existing workforce.

Semiconductors have become vital to world manufacturing businesses and are used in all mobiles and computers, alongside healthcare, transport and for clean energy technology.

The new Alliance will see Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science partner with leading firms including Arm, Cadence, Synopsys, ST, Arduino, Taiwan’s TSRI, the All India Council for Technical Education, alongside the universities of Cambridge and Cornell.

Professor Geoff Merrett, from the University of Southampton, said: “We have collaborated with individual Alliance partners over many years. Uniting as a Global Alliance gives a shared focus in addressing the design skill challenge.

“Southampton will lead on developing two important global communities of practise among the academic community. The first to improve delivery of skills in electronic design and the second in using state-of-art design to improve academia’s ability to generate improved research outcomes.”

“The School of Electronics and Computer Science at Southampton has a long-established record of driving innovation in Open Access and is using that to help build a global academic community focused on improving learning outcomes for students in Electronic Design. It is achieving this by helping the community to share ways to better give students stimulating and engaging materials and learning experiences. The Edu Labs community aims to bring together academics with interests in computer engineering and informatics, system-on-chip, ASIC design, signal processing and computer architecture to connect, share, collaborate and support development of the community’s teaching activities and improve the learning outcomes for students.”

The University of Southampton helped pioneer the creation of electronics more than 60 years ago – and was among the first developers of the semiconductor technology.

Developing skills and talent is one of the three key initiatives identified by the UK government in its new semiconductor strategy – alongside new research and better infrastructure – which it said the industry has recognised as barriers to progress.

The new alliance intends to address these challenges by bringing together industry and academic experts, including Southampton, to upskill the industry by improving STEM education, apprenticeships, and industry-led learning.

Gary Campbell, EVP Central Engineering at Arm, said: “We are delighted that the University of Southampton is a lead partner in the Semiconductor Education Alliance. With one of the oldest dedicated departments in Electronics, and more than 60 years as a nationally recognised centre in semiconductors, they are a partner that brings significant academic strength to the alliance.”

Find out more about the Semiconductor Education Alliance at