In a significant stride toward enhancing India’s position in the semiconductor realm, a committee operating under the aegis of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has recommended the creation of the India Semiconductor Research Centre (ISRC). The ambitious endeavor is earmarked with a substantial budget of $2.5-3 billion, with a vision to position India as a paramount global supplier in the semiconductor domain, encompassing semiconductors, packaging, and integrated systems from design to end products.
The government envisions ISRC as an illustrious research institution, specifically honing its expertise in semiconductor processes, advanced packaging, compound semiconductors, and Fabless design, alongside Electronic Design Automation (EDA) tools. Additionally, the Semiconductor Laboratory in Mohali will undergo a state-of-the-art transformation, thereby fostering innovation while synchronizing with ISRC’s pursuits.
This visionary recommendation stems from the findings of the India Semiconductor R&D Committee, the report of which was formally presented to Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, on October 20. Chandrasekhar emphasized that the government’s plan encompasses the establishment of the research center in 2024, in close collaboration with both industry and academia.
Notable members of the committee comprise eminent personalities from various sectors, including Randhir Thakur of Tata Electronics, Hem Takiar of Micron Technology, the CEO of the Indian Semiconductor Mission, and distinguished professors from premier institutions like IIT Bombay, Kanpur, and Madras, in addition to officials from Meity and representatives from the industry.
Chandrasekhar expressed, “After months of dedicated research, the India Semiconductor R&D Committee has laid out a roadmap for ISRC, embodying the architectural design in line with Prime Minister Modi’s vision for the semiconductor ecosystem. Despite India’s absence from the semiconductor landscape for many years and the missed opportunities, we are now in pursuit of making up for lost time. This institution will serve as a cornerstone of India’s burgeoning prowess in the realm of semiconductors, mirroring the significance of internationally acclaimed entities such as IMEC, Nano Tech, ITRI, and the MIT Micro-electronic labs, which have spearheaded groundbreaking technologies worldwide.”
Focus on Semiconductor Infrastructure:
The report, which has been reviewed by Magadh Today, suggests that the project includes the establishment of a cutting-edge clean room spanning 1-1.5 lakh square feet for silicon fabrication, along with 20,000-30,000 square feet for advanced packaging.
Such a center is envisioned to catalyze chip design, fabrication, and packaging research and development, stimulate homegrown innovation for global prominence, and provide a platform for prototyping and concept verification in line with the demands of next-generation technologies like AI, 5G/6G, IoT, and Industry 4.0. The initial three years’ expenses are estimated to range from $2.5-$3 billion, with an anticipated annual operating cost of $250 million – $500 million.
In the medium-term horizon spanning 2-5 years, the ISRC aims to broaden its scope by establishing novel R&D and educational infrastructure. This expansion seeks to diversify its research offerings and capabilities, including integrated packaging and system pilots.
As a pivotal component of its strategy to foster research and development, education, and industry partnerships in semiconductors, the committee anticipates government expenditures of Rs 3,200 crore over a five-year period. The industry is anticipated to contribute around Rs 680 crore.
The ISRC is recommended to be governed by a minimum of 12 directors, responsible for appointing a Chief Executive Officer. Beneath this executive team, a Technology Advisory Board comprising government, industry, and academic experts will guide the center’s strategic directions. Moreover, a comprehensive governance structure will be put in place, including a dedicated management team.
The Technology Advisory Board is tasked with articulating a comprehensive roadmap for ISRC, encompassing four fundamental research pillars: advanced silicon, packaging R&D, compound and power semiconductors, and chip design, complemented by Electronic Design Automation (EDA).