The European Commission (EC) approved 14 countries to pump a total of €8.1 billion into R&D covering communications and microelectronics, with major industry players including Ericsson, Nokia and Orange poised to be involved in the projects.

Under the banner of Important Project of Common European Interest microelectronics/communication technologies (IPCEI ME/CT), it aims to fund projects covering every stage from research to early industrial deployments including chip design and manufacturing.

Alongside the €8.1 billion in public funding, an additional €13.7 billion is expected to be added to the pot from private sector investments.

Across the 68 R&D projects, 56 companies will directly contribute including: Airbus, Analog Devices, ASML, Bosch, Ericsson, Infineon, Nokia, NXP, Orange, Renault, Rohde & Schwarz and STMicroelectronics.

There are also a further 30 associated participants, which include Vodafone Spain, and around 600 indirect participants contributing through existing collaborations with the primary parties involved.

Goals of the various projects match wider efforts in the European Union to push digital and green transformation, alongside boosting local chip manufacture.

Specific aims of work under the IPCEI ME/CT are to develop technologies that go beyond what is currently available in the microelectronics and communications sectors, the EC stated.

These include “developing energy-efficient and resource-saving electronics systems and manufacturing methods” and technology to advance “many sectors, including communications (5G and 6G), autonomous driving, AI and quantum computing.”

Other areas targeted include supporting companies active in the energy generation and distribution sectors in green transitions.

Results of the research “may” hit the market from 2025, it added, though the scheme is scheduled to run until 2032.

Countries funding the projects include Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain.

The initiative is the sixth IPCEI approved under European Union rules, which set-out criteria of how several member states can collaborate on funding transitional projects in areas deemed a priority in the region.