The 2024 3D InCites Yearbook

Bridging the Path from University to Industry By Rene Dubois, ClassOne Technology

for skilled workers. According to a recent Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) report, the workforce will grow to approximately 460,000 jobs by 2030, representing 33% growth from today’s 345,000 jobs. However, at the current degree completion rate, 58% of these projected new jobs (and 80% of projected new technical jobs) may go unfilled. Universities are thus under added pressure to attract and excite students to enter the industry by providing relevant curriculums and imparting real-world skills. Bringing more advanced tools to universities will also mirror what’s being used in the semiconductor industry – essentially setting up universities to become an adjunct for industry development. Some university cleanrooms are already adding the kinds of production-proven, fully automated high-volume tools found in today’s semiconductor facilities. While this level of investment is aspirational, other schools plan to spend significant funds on their cleanroom setups. They need affordable yet powerful tools to help them move toward industry-level offerings that allow them to optimize premium fab space. Enabling the Lab-to-Fab Transition Many universities looking to offer more leading-edge capabilities focus on advanced packaging (AP). According to market research firm Yole Group, this industry’s market value is projected to grow from US$ 44.3 billion in 2022 to US$ 78 billion by 2028 – a 10% CAGR. AI and machine learning enable data centers, automotive, 5G, and other applications that require powerful processors to handle the sheer volume of generated data. In turn, these devices necessitate the use of AP techniques.

advanced fab-level wafer processing and away from the benchtop beakers and wet benches that were not equipped to deal with new and emerging challenges. With the passage of the U.S. CHIPS and Science Act, universities are looking to take a major leap forward in the capability to transfer technology more readily to the chip manufacturing industry. Engaging with advanced tools is also more interesting than working with wet benches, which will inspire students to join the industry and be better prepared to work in real fabs. This will be vital to filling the semiconductor industry’s need

The university setting offers a valuable environment for future engineers to explore and learn about technologies that will become part of their daily lives when transitioning from school to a career. At the same time, universities working on microelectronics and advanced R&D are increasingly looking for more advanced manufacturing equipment that offers both reasonable upfront investment cost, and a low cost of ownership. Over the next five years, we will see significant changes in the kinds of microelectronics projects and programs universities pursue. University fabs are moving toward

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3D InCites Yearbook



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