France awards Soitec-led European consortium for semiconductor innovation

Paris, and Bernin (Grenoble), France, December 17, 2020. – The French Government has granted the REFERENCE consortium led by Soitec, a world leader in semiconductor materials based in France, the “Étoile de l’Europe” (“Star of Europe”) award for innovation in telecommunication.

Based on the Silicon on Insulator substrate technology, REFERENCE, a project funded by the ECSEL Joint Undertaking[1], has developed industrial solutions for communication applications.

Frédérique Vidal, France’s Minister of Higher Education, Research, and Innovation, awarded the consortium, recognizing the emergence of a strong European network, which underpins France’s role as a motor of Europe’s technological autonomy. The joint achievements drive the next generation of semiconductor technologies enabling new solutions for 5G and paving the way for further collaboration and hiring’s opportunities in Europe.”

REFERENCE brought together 15 multidisciplinary partners from four European countries, including manufacturers marketing or using semiconductors (Soitec, STMicroelectronics, Globalfoundries, Siltronic, Sentronics, TELIT, ATEP, AED, Airbus), three of Europe’s largest centers for applied research in microelectronics (CEA, FhG, IMEC) and three high-level universities (UCB-Lyon, TU-Dresden, UBW-Munich).

Paul Boudre, CEO of Soitec, said: “Our successful and ongoing participation in the European ECSEL program helps us to maintain our pole position in telecommunications. It showcases our capacity to translate semiconductor innovations into full-fledged ecosystems and gear them up to end consumer application levels. We pursue the new ECSEL initiatives, in particular BEYOND5, to further enhance the adoption of our technologies, and we remain committed to Europe’s objective to foster environmental sustainability and technological sovereignty.”

Bert De Colvenaer, Executive Director of the ECSEL JU, warmly congratulates the consortium. “This is exactly what we at ECSEL JU dream of: a sequence of projects, independently selected out of the calls for proposals based on the highest excellence, biggest impact and perfect implementation, building upon each other to deliver unique and important ‘Made in Europe’ technologies used on a worldwide scale. We highly appreciate that one of our projects has been awarded this trophy: it proves again that ‘thinking together, working together, and investing together’ at European scale really does deliver!”

CEA Leti, as a major European Research and Technology Organization in the field of microelectronics, is located at the crossroads between the world of research and that of industry. Emmanuel Sabonnadière, CEO of CEA-Leti, said: CEA-Leti supports the growth of European industry through these H2020 / ECSEL projects, an ability that is even more crucial today in conjunction with the European economic recovery plan. In 2019, CEA-Leti and Soitec launched the Substrate Innovation Center; by federating our skills, we accelerate the development and transfer to production of new generations of engineered substrates.”


Q3’21 sales are due to be published on January 21st, 2021 after market close.

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[1] ECSEL stands for Electronic Components and System for European Leadership. It combines funds from the EU’s Horizon2020 programme, the participating countries, and the participants themselves.

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