The objectives are to promote the use of ASICs by Portuguese SMEs, increase their awareness and ability to exploit technological developments in microelectronics, and enable them to participate in European Union research programmes.
In fact, Portuguese SMEs have not hitherto participated to any great extent to Union programmes in microelectronics. Their knowledge of such programmes was insufficient, and there was a lack of engineering skills to develop and update the new technologies. AICI aims to improve this situation by demonstrating examples of successful technology transfer. There exist numerous potential product applications for SMEs, from supplying large electronic companies to manufacturing of products for niche (but global) markets. This requires however proper technology transfer and participation in research projects.
The AICI consortium combines different types of expertise. INESC, the co-ordinating partner, has the technological know-how and the basic services needed to set up the organisation. The Portuguese universities are represented by groups working at INESC - the Instituto Superior Tecnico (IST), from Lisbon, and the Faculty of Engineering of University of Porto (FEUP) - and by the University of Aveiro. TECMIC is a commercial design house, ANIMEE is the national association of electrical and electronics manufacturers, and CHALLENGE is a company offering technological consultancy services.