Nearly a year after the MEDEA+ programme, a microelectronics research and development (R&D) programme for 'system innovation on silicon for the e-economy' was launched by EUREKA, 38 projects are underway, involving around 220 partners from 17 countries. The MEDEA+ programme began in January 2001 with the aim of taking Europe to the top of the global microelectronics league through fostering pre-competitive R&D collaboration. The 38 projects were selected from 64 submitted to the MEDEA+ office. 'The extreme interest of so many partners willing to cooperate, and the high acceptance rate of the projects clearly demonstrate that we correctly targeted the necessary work to further boost Europe's microelectronics industry,' said Jean-Pierre Noblanc, Chairman of the MEDEA+ board. 'We also appreciate that the public authorities are fully committed to supporting R&D for this industry on a par with other macroeconomic regions in the world,' he added. The 38 projects represent more than 10,000 person years. They focus on fundamental technology issues such as sub-100nm CMOS processes and on developing and gaining expertise in applications such as network access, multimedia and security. MEDEA+ is planning on helping European manufacturers develop this advanced technology and applications expertise. The content of the future MEDEA+ programme will be determined by the results of comparative benchmarking and road mapping studies now underway. Rapid acceleration of technological development means that the third call for project proposals, to be launched in the second half of 2002, is expected to extend technical targets. The MEDEA+ programme board is also forming a scientific committee, composed of leading academic experts, to provide advice on the main areas where increased research work will be required. 'The new committee will have a fundamental role in opening the future roads of microelectronics, identifying crucial topics impacting microelectronics development within the coming five to ten years and benchmarking our resources in Europe against those of other regions,' said Mr Noblanc.