Silicon Alps continues to grow together, and can look back on a very successful 2017.

Silicon Alps continues to grow together, looks back on a very successful 2017 and offers a comprehensive outlook for 2018 at its annual conference.

Graz, Airport. At the annual conference of the Silicon Alps Cluster, a full review of the year 2017 was given. The cluster’s comprehensive activities were once again declared to all participants and it was an opportunity to exchange views on the activities of the cluster to date. At the annual conference, the approximately 80 cooperating partners also worked out the main areas of activity for the coming year. To do this, the cooperating partners divided into groups in the afternoon, focusing on their respective priorities along the value chain.

Deputy Governor, Dr Gaby Schaunig: “When I was involved in the foundation of Silicon Alps a year ago, I had high hopes for the cluster. Therefore, it’s especially nice to see that these expectations have been greatly exceeded. Silicon Alps has done an outstanding job in making the region visible on an international level in the field of microelectronics. As a financial officer, the figures are particularly impressive for me – when you see that the South Region is showing 3.8 percent economic growth this year and Carinthia as much as 4.7 percent, this is proof of the work’s success.” For Gaby Schaunig, the main focal topic is training and further education, which needs a lot of attention, as well as the expansion of fibre optics. “Apprenticeships and specialist skilled training must be a strong focus of the cluster’s work in order to ensure that sufficiently qualified employees are available for the dynamic growth.”

Councillor Barbara Eibinger-Miedl: “The Silicon Alps microelectronics cluster is the latest example in the success story of Styrian clusters and is a flagship project for cross-border cooperation between regions. Microelectronics is one of the key technologies for digitalisation and has developed into a real strength in the Styrian economy in recent years. With our leading companies such as ams, AT&S, EPCOS, Infineon and NXP as well as our universities and research institutes, we are in an excellent position. Working with the new ‘Silicon Austria Labs’ research centre, the cluster will contribute to positioning Styria and Carinthia as internationally leading regions in microelectronics in the coming years!”

Cluster Managing Director Dr Günther Lackner’s election as Vice Chairman of the Silicon Europe Alliance for 2018 the previous day in Brussels also adds to the cluster’s international visibility. As the European umbrella organisation for the industry, this organisation brings sustainable added value to the region. “I am very pleased about this election, which will bring us the chairmanship of the Alliance in 2019. As a result, we can generate direct benefit for our partners through intensive Europe-wide networking.”

All of the new cooperating partners from industry and science introduced themselves to participants at the annual conference. The Silicon Alps Cluster offered everyone the opportunity to get to know each other better and to exchange ideas. Dr Günther Lackner gave an outlook for 2018. A highlight will be the foundation of the Silicon Alps Academy, which the Silicon Alps Cluster will launch as a learning management platform in Q3 2018. As in 2017, the strategic focus will be on HR & training, supplier development and internationalisation. The activities of the cluster focus groups will be pivotal in 2018. These groups bring companies together and thus cover the various requirements of a specific topic. The existing groups covering the topics of Cyber Security & IoT, RFID and Health Technology defined their main focal points and worked on their own goals in joint activities. Representatives of the existing cluster focus groups presented the previous activities of the cluster focus groups. The new topics of Clean Room & Technology, Smart System Integration and Advanced Manufacturing were proposed and substantiated by the partners in the afternoon.
This “marketplace” gave the participants the opportunity to freely exchange ideas and to address the themes in which the cluster will become active.

Chartered engineer Werner Luschnig opened the afternoon. As head of Silicon Austria Labs Errichtungs GmbH, he reports on the current status of the project. All participants listened very eagerly to his remarks. Silicon Austria will put a lot of effort into strategic personnel development in order to create very interesting jobs for young researchers in the long term.

To conclude, the members presented a review and an outlook of their expectations for 2018. In addition to depth of content, further benefits are now to be generated for the partners and the region. The cluster’s activities will focus on competitiveness and further value creation.


Strategic alliance for location development
Dr Günther Lackner: “In the coming year, the cluster will also increase the competitiveness and innovative performance of our cooperating partners, the local added value and the international visibility of the location for startups and for attracting existing companies. We support the increase of research quotas and offer special services for SMEs and entrepreneurs.” Therefore, in addition to cooperation with well-known companies, the cluster is increasingly focusing on the needs of small and medium-sized businesses.

Cluster partners Carinthia and Styria
The locations of Carinthia and Styria have a particularly high level of technological expertise. The framework conditions are characterised by international leading companies such as Infineon Technologies Austria, Intel, NXP, LAM Research, AVL, AT&S and FLEX as well as an excellent educational and research landscape with universities, several universities of applied sciences and numerous research institutions such as Joanneum Research. The two Austrian locations can boast a high R&D quota, numerous spin-offs from the university sector, an exceptionally high proportion of operational research and a strong concentration of centres of excellence.

Structure of the Silicon Alps Cluster
The members of the Silicon Alps Cluster, based in Villach, include the two federal states of Carinthia and Styria, the Carinthian Economic Promotion Fund (KWF), the Styrian Business Promotion Agency (SFG) and the Carinthian and Styrian Industrial Associations (IV-Kärnten and IV-Steiermark). Cooperating companies are selected along the value chain. In addition to microelectronics, this includes electronics manufacturing, assembling, system integration, process technology and service industries with a focus on microelectronics.