at the Research to Reality event: Innovative Approaches for the skills gap

The European Commission invited the project to participate in the Research to Reality event on February 5, 2024. The event, focusing on Digital Solutions to European challenges, hosted a panel entitled ‘From the lab to the fab - the chips for Europe initiative as a bridge between research and industry’. 

This particular panel centred on semiconductors, aimed at bringing academia closer to the needs of industry, a necessary approach to close the skills gap that is affecting the industry. Lucilla Sioli - Director for Artificial Intelligence and Digital Industry at the European Commission, underlined the relevance of the topic within the list of priorities of the European Commission and pointed out the geopolitical tensions arising from the chip shortage around the world. 

Director Sioli stressed out how Europe should invest in what it excels in, namely research and young talents. The first pillar of the Chips Act - The Chips for Europe initiative, targets the strengthening of capabilities through the creation of pilot lines aimed at guiding the boost of the European semiconductor sector. From pilot lines to design and manufacturing, Lucilla Sioli touched upon the most burning issues surrounding the sector in Europe, presenting also the competence centres, which are one of the instruments that Chips JU - the main agency managing the program on semiconductors - will be coordinating.

Competence centres will ease the access to pilot lines and design platforms, and support stakeholders in developing semiconductor solutions. They will be promoting the Chips Fund and facilitating access to venture capital. Last but not least, competence centres will address the skills gap by promoting training on semiconductors, including workforce upskilling and reskilling, and by linking academia and industry - an initiative at the core of the commitment to the skills gap. at the event 

Silvana Muscella

Silvana Muscella, founder and CEO at Trust-IT Services Italy, the technical coordinator of, brought to Brussels the project’s approach to the skills gap. Silvana began by highlighting the importance of young talents in the workforce, who bring innovation and variety to any field, and pointed out the necessity of building a targeted workforce, in her words:

‘’The talent gap cannot keep up with the talent demand and with the expected necessary skillset in the Semiconductor field and expected increase in demand, Europe is set to find itself with a massive (>350k to 500k) worker shortage by 2030.’’

The semiconductor industry is set to double in size by the next decade, with 70% of the fabs still based in Asia and a predicted sharp growth of the Asian and American fabs, which are set to establish approximately 4 times as many fabs as in Europe, it is time for us to rise and outline toolkits and solutions to increase competitivity and avoid dependency. We cannot escape interconnectedness but we cannot fully rely on it either. Europe needs to build an adaptable and resilient semiconductor ecosystem by investing in its unique strengths - such as research and innovation - by coordinating and communicating its necessities and capabilities, a task to which is deeply committed. 

The event has been the perfect occasion to present and showcase the proposals aimed at solving the skills gap and centred around competence centres. In an attempt to alleviate the skilled labour shortage and the structural unemployment affecting the industry, the triple helix approach, represents a valuable solution that promises to link academia, institutions, and industry. In order to implement the triple helix approach in an affective and clear way,, will be delivering a blueprint that wants to serve as guideline to the competence centres, pragmatically providing instructions on how to implement a Europe-wide triple helix approach in 2024, learning from industry best practices, and inviting whoever is interested in providing their contribution. 

In addition to the blueprint is contributing to finding new solutions through its Thematic Working Group on skills, part of a series of working groups aimed at opening and showcasing new opportunities, and connecting with new actors in the sector. To know more about the TWG on skills you can visit our website here