The nine COMPETE objectives as defined in the Technical Annex were:
1. Co-ordinate R&D activities in the field of Microelectronics Interconnection and Packaging and enhance cross-fertilisation of results through a better mutual knowledge between the projects, and common proactive participation of organisations within structured working groups.
Over its lifetime, COMPETE totalled approximately 45 organisations as funded members, 15 organisations as non-funded members, 120 individuals and 60 projects, from 12 European countries.
It obviously had an actual but indirect positive influence on the research community through the many technical meetings that were held within the network, bringing researchers and engineers together. Whilst this resulted in some highly visible outcomes for a few partners (e.g. Bull, FhG-ISC, Osprey Metals), many partners entered into collaboration of various degree, most of them remaining confidential.
COMPETE was hence an original platform, primarily built upon RTD projects, leading partners into various forms of systematic dissemination of their results, skills and knowledge. Mixing the many projects and partners, facilitating their presence and active participation to meetings, conferences and fairs, creating dedicated working groups, all these actions dramatically favoured
• cross-fertilization between pools of competences and individuals involved in various domains which normally rarely or never get in contact (specially visible at Semicon fair)
• synergies between projects by making possible reuse of already produced and available experience, data, materials and devices, and by pushing individuals to share knowledge and open themselves, force individuals to discover that many similar organisations are involved in many projects which can be of interest to them, which are running concurrently to their own project.
It is worth noting that, besides concrete outputs like studies, documentation, promotion, a less tangible but surely quite strong result of the network with highly positive impact is the reinforced cohesion of its members, who were able to go out of the rails of normal RTD projects and share many contact and knowledge.
Additionally, some working groups may still have after COMPETE a driving and leading action to concentrate efforts of research labs and industry:
• Set-up of a group on lead-free soldering "ELFNET", to harmonize transition and implementation of lead-free soldering techniques and processes. ELFNET is now driven by Tin Technology Ltd, Uxbridge (England)
• Set-up of a group on materials for opto-electronic components "OPTELPAC", preparing the ground for a real breakthrough in the design and physical implementation of optical interconnection at board and component level.
OPTELPAC is now driven by Fraunhofer Institute ISC, Wurzburg (Germany).
2. Contribute to a better knowledge and a better utilisation of the global technical and marketing state of the art in the field of Microelectronics Interconnection and Packaging The contribution was either non formal, as per meetings, working groups sessions, participation to panels and conferences, or quite structured around specific topics, as in the next instances:
• Setup of the unique international conference "EuroSimE" on thermal and mechanical simulation in microelectronics,
first attempt to structuring the European resources of the field and initiate collaboration with non-EU organisations. With 100 attendants from Europe, USA and Far-East, technically sponsored by IEEE, it is now recognised as an important event by research labs, universities and the electronic industry (specially the consumer electronics manufacturers) like Philips, Nokia, Bosch. Alcatel, Thales..
• Release of a study on "advanced forms of PWB and high-density substrates". The PWB Benchmark Study was initiated in 1999 and completed by end of 2000 and advertised within and outside the network, specially at Semicon 2000 and 2001, Productronica 2001. Approximately 20 organisations asked for copies, whilst the number of downloaded copies is probably around 50. It still contains valuable data of interest for any organisation involved in the interconnection of electronic components. Copies were recently made available to the partners of the PATRIA project.
3. Contribute to the definition of R&D strategies in the sector, both for the partners and for the EC. Co-operation with NETPACK will be particularly important in this topic Though no formal working group was launched with this objective, COMPETE contributed in these ways:
- the participation of the partners of DONDOMCM project to the network contributed to shape the successor project DONDODEM
- several project proposals (on thermo-mechanical simulation in 2000, lead-free... ) were submitted to EC
- In 2001 was submitted to the EC a proposal for continuing the network ("COMPETE PI 3"), mounted and signed by 80 organisations. In comparison to COMPETE, this proposal was built on a limited focused working groups.
- In 2002, many COMPETE members issued or participated to Expressions of Interest, which hopefully provided IST and GROWTH programmes with valuable input on short and mid-term requirements of both industry and research communities.
4. Foster the exploitation of the results, by the provision of the appropriate information environment and strategic support, enabling R&D teams to better contribute to exploitation plans
• Participation to project "ADOPT", representing electronics, focused at SMEs, intended to facilitate the participation of SMEs to EC programmes.
• Participation to project "PATRIA", a study on the European capability to (re)host a high-level packaging industry. For both ADOPT and PATRIA, MTA brings the synthesis of COMPETE community and outcomes, a key feature for feeding useful inputs to drive the projects.
• Validation of the genuine cost analysis software tool SimWitch through FLIPAC and TRILAP RTD projects, within the "cost analysis" working group. SimWitch is publicly downloadable from the COMPETE and MTA servers.
• leadfree soldering group ELFNET is now living by itself, hoping to work for the coming few years necessary for the European industry to adopt and implement leadfree soldering processes. It cooperates with professional associations of the European PCB industry. It wrote an EoI in June 2002.
• opto-electronic group OPTELPAC is now living by itself; the ultimate step should be the creation of a dedicated commercial organisation to promote, sell and support the related products in the electronics industry, in parallel with the set-up of the necessary supply chain for related products: base-product (a German supplier was recently - spring 2002 - selected for providing the market), design rules, design services, specific mask making for optical devices, etc. It wrote an EoI in June 2002.
5. Improve the dissemination of the results and on-going activities, allowing the co-ordinated projects to jointly present their activities to the outside world. This will take place through various actions, including participation to conferences, the organisation of an annual open workshop, and the distribution of a catalogue of results also diffused through appropriate on-line servers COMPETE deliverables are mainly focused around the results of RTD projects:
• Dissemination of project results within and outside of the network (meetings, Web, conferences, panel sessions, reports)
• Participation to public event once a year, with participation of several members through exhibition on stand or through conference or panel sessions.
• Working groups results (studies, technology watch, cost analysis software)
• A wide electronic dissemination of the results of 60 RTD projects through the COMPETE web site (several thousands of downloads), plus many public presentations and work documents. Many engineers and scientists benefited from these features in their daily work.
• 4 years maintenance of a web site dedicated to the packaging-interco-assembly community. The site was updated on a weekly basis and became a reference to the microelectronics community for finding information on packaging, interconnection and assembly.
• Dissemination and exchanges during large international fairs: five large annual events were organised by COMPETE at prestigious fairs and conferences (SMT-Hybrid, Semicon Europa, Productronica). COMPETE was delegating authors at official conferences, was organising itself panel discussions or presentations. Technical reports were published by COMPETE in magazines. Combining its annual events to recognised fairs, rather than holding autonomous events, ensured the success of these COMPETE events.
• On-line catalogue of users and suppliers from the packaging interco community. Based upon a triangular database linking organisations, RTD projects and products-technologies, it is an original way of structuring data around projects partners and results. On-line catalogue is available (its contents relates to COMPETE members), and MTA is definitely willing to sustain its concept, widening its data base, and finding a suitable way of transforming this trial into a full scale tool.
• EuroSimE is now an established, credible and re-known international conference, recognised and technically sponsored by IEEE. The core pool of organisers has been quite stable and reliable to manage the conference and is committed to continue. It wrote an EoI in June 2002. To promote the utilisation of these new techniques by the industry, MTA will undertake a study targeting the electronics design and manufacturing industry for spring 2003.
• SimWitch is commercially available at low cost by the network coordinator, and can be downloaded from the COMPETE and MTA servers
• PWB benchmark study, now 2 years old, is publicly available, its content becoming gradually obsolete over the coming 2-3 years.
6. Relay the activities of the thematic network and related information to professional associations The activities of the network were relayed, advertised or synchronized with a few organisations, primarily targeting an information and dissemination role:
- with the Thematic Network ECOLIFE: reciprocal presentations, exhibition of ECOLIFE at Semicon and Productronica
- with IMAPS France: participation of COMPETE to IMAPS 2001 event at Strasbourg
- with IEEE and CPMT: in the frame of EuroSimE conferences
- with Tin Technology / Soldertec, providing services for electronics companies, including access to leading information and expertise on lead-free soldering technology
- with SEMI: having participated twice to Semicon Europa fairs within the "Test Assembly Packaging Pavilion", COMPETE did contribute to the convergence of interests between the semiconductor industry and the packaging industry, the latter one becoming more and more a significant concern to the chip makers.
7. Improve the co-ordination with other programmes and activities in the field, and in particular with the IT (DG III F) projects, but also with EUREKA and national programmes dealing with technical, standardisation and commercial issues in Europe and in the world at large.
Before COMPETE, some of the IST/GROWTH programmes members were more or less networked through the persons and projects, but no formal frame was offered to them to exchange data, ideas and contacts outside of the constraining work plans of the projects. COMPETE really enabled all these people to widen their contact base and to know each other, attending joint presentations, eventually providing them with possibilities and infrastructures to present their results during annual events. In addition, COMPETE helped many organisations which were new to the world of EC funded projects to understand RTD projects mechanisms.
It demonstrated additionally to the individuals that, besides EC-funded projects ruled by rigid work programmes, exist a lighter and flexible structure to favour their integration to the European community of researchers and engineers, for a faster and cheaper way from research to industry.
8. Provide directly adequate training and support in exploitation strategies and in Industrial Property Rights issues, as well as in technical matters through NETPACK activities
The original proposal included annual trainings organised by MTA, focusing on the transfer of research-development to the industry. However, EC-organised self-assessment seminars on RTD projects results were proposed to COMPETE members as a replacement; these seminars were never hold.
9. Provide complementary and individual follow-up of a selection Brite EuRam projects, in support of the EC Scientific Office, with the supply of independent expert advice to the consortia on a case by case basis and in agreement with the projects.
This activity was grafted onto COMPETE. Seven projects were closely followed by consultants within / without COMPETE: ADHESIVES, ASTRAL, COMPRISE, DACTEL, HIPO, ITERELCO and RAMP.
Since a few years, Electronics has been the first industry in the world, revealing the strategic importance of the supporting technologies that allowed such position. Microelectronics Packaging and Interconnection is one of such core technologies that allows the integration of electronic functionalities incomplete systems for a wide variety of end-users.
The mission of COMPETE is to fulfil the following objectives: - Co-ordinate R&D activities in the field of Microelectronics Interconnection and Packaging and enhance cross-fertilisation of results through a better annual knowledge between the projects, and common proactive participation of organisations within structured working groups.- Contribute to a better knowledge and a better utilisation of the global technical and marketing state of the art in the field of Micro-electronics Interconnection and Packaging- Contribute to the definition of R&D strategies in the sector, both for the partners and for the EC Cooperation with NETPACK will be particularly important in this topic- Foster the exploitation of the results, by the provision of the appropriate information environment and strategic support, enabling R&D teams to better contribute to exploitation plans- Improve the dissemination of the results and on-going activities, allowing the coordinated projects to jointly present their activities to the outside world.- Relay the activities of the thematic network and related information to professional associations.
EUROPEAN DIMENSION AND PARTNERSHIPCOMPETE has an intrinsic European dimension, in three main aspects:
- COMPETE is a consortium of European R&D projects with initial participation of 43 organisations from 10 EU member states;
- COMPETE disseminates its results within European yearly events;
- COMPETE is fostering exploitation for the primary benefit of European industry COMPETE is also complementing the work of various other networks such as: NETPACK, EUROPRACTICE, GOOD-DIE, NEXUS.COMPETE is establishing links with national bodies and programmes, to allow the appropriate articulation with other business incentives.
Funding SchemeTHN - Thematic network contracts
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KT22 7SA Leatherhead
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2825-114 Monte Da Caparica
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78146 Vélizy Villacoublay
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CB1 6AL Cambridge
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