Electronic Products & Technology

Can Canada out innovate other countries when the chips are down?

CMC Microsystems strategy aims to leverage high tech manufacturing in Canada

June 25, 2021  EP&T Magazine

CMC Microsystems (CMC), a non-profit national organization that accelerates technology research and commercialization, has a plan to accelerate high tech manufacturing in Canada, including specialty semiconductors, by helping existing and new companies achieve high volume manufacturing success.

CMC has brought together 14 project founders from industry, academia and non-profit technology research organizations to support the five-year program called Fabrication of Integrated Components for the Internet’s Edge – FABrIC.

Source: Getty Images

Large-scale national ecosystems

In all, FABrIC is a $700M program. The program is expected to attract $480M in industrial R&D. CMC has also submitted to the Government of Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund, (SIF) administered by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) for funding in the amount of 120M$.

This initiative will support large-scale national ecosystems through high impact collaborations between small, medium, and large corporations, academic and research institutions, and not-for-profit organizations to support Canadian innovation ecosystems.

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Accelerate development & commercialization

The proposal also details $100M generated as revenues or provided by provinces or matching funding and used during the project.

The funds will complement the R&D programs at over 100 small, medium and large Canadian companies and accelerate their development and commercialization of products. CMC technical staff will work with research fabrication facilities to offer specialty materials and processes to give the new technology products a performance edge.

New high-tech jobs

Most importantly, the program ensures that the intellectual property (IP) developed will stay in Canada, “locked” into the hardware technology of the new products.

Some 4,000 new high-tech jobs will result from FABrIC’s implementation.

CMC and partners will enhance manufacturing technologies for the globally important subsectors of:

  • microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)
  • integrated photonics
  • specialty semiconductors and quantum devices.

Enable new start-up hardware companies

“These are technology areas where Canada has proven expertise”, said Gordon Harling, president and CEO of CMC Microsystems. “By supporting specific ecosystems, for research and development of manufactured products, we can accelerate the research, enable new start up hardware companies and help existing companies increase market share for new products,” he said.

FABrIC targets niche technologies where Canada has proven research, development and manufacturing strengths. It is a perfect complement to the extremely high volume, commodity semiconductor chip (“foundry”) business which costs billions of dollars to build and only exist in a few countries around the world.


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