KLA, imec Announce MOU to Advance the Electrification of the Automotive Industry

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KLA Corporation and imec announced the intention to establish the Semiconductor Talent and Automotive Research (STAR) initiative, focusing on developing the talent base and infrastructure necessary to accelerate advanced semiconductor applications for electrification and autonomous mobility and move the automotive industry forward. The initiative builds on over 25 years of collaboration between imec and KLA.

This initiative is designed to connect automotive, semiconductor and innovation research initiatives in Europe (Belgium), the United States (Michigan) and Asia (Japan). Each partner will bring relevant expertise to identify and manage programs aligned to the automotive industry, as well as talent development and recruitment. 

The plan establishes a center of excellence (COE) in Michigan to formalize support for the development of the semiconductor industry workforce as well as the advancement of autonomous automotive solutions and electric vehicle research. Founding partners include General Motors, the University of Michigan, Washtenaw Community College and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Specifically, the Michigan center intends to focus on: 

  • Accelerating fundamental and advanced research for vehicle electrification and autonomous automotive solutions
  • Developing and translating of innovations in vehicle electrification and autonomous automotive technologies
  • Collaborating with learning institutions, including K-12 and vocational schools, community colleges, four-year colleges and research universities, to enable a Midwest-based skilled talent pipeline
  • Training and re-training programs to prepare the current workforce for modern chip manufacturing and assembly roles
  • Creating a physical collaboration space, laboratory and training spaces, and incubator funding for related startups

Global footprint leveraging regional strengths

Michigan is recognized globally as a hub for industry and innovation with a robust manufacturing, research and education infrastructure, making it a natural choice for the STAR Initiative's North American research center location. In addition to KLA, imec and founding members, additional organizations are expected to join as the program matures.


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