KU Leuven
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TU Eindhoven and KU Leuven have agreed to cooperate more closely in semicon, focusing on joint education and research. The aim is to connect and strengthen the solid semicon knowledge ecosystems around Eindhoven (Brainport) and Leuven (Mindgate), in collaboration with ASML and imec. In this way, the parties intend to contribute to, among other things, the European Chips Act and the Dutch reinforcement plan for the microchip sector (project ‘Beethoven’).

Research and PhD students

In the agreement, the two universities agree to jointly train jointly funded PhD students to become top semiconductor experts. These doctoral students will conduct research in areas relevant to the semicon, including AI, mechatronics, software development, materials science, plasma physics, microchip technology, and optics. The universities are also setting up a seed fund to explore new research paths and will seek opportunities to attract external research funding.

KU Leuven TU Eindhoven agreement ceremony
KU Leuven TU Eindhoven agreement ceremony


In addition, KU Leuven and TU/e plan to establish joint master’s tracks in areas such as optics, photonics, quantum technology, semiconductor engineering, and high-tech systems engineering, with exchange between the two institutions of students and researchers. The cooperation of KU Leuven, imec, TU/e, and ASML in this regard should start to provide additional attraction for master’s students. The two universities will also explore the possibilities of creating a joint bachelor’s program.

Furthermore, a ‘Summer School’ will be established with industrial partners each year exclusively for one hundred top students worldwide in areas relevant to semicon.

Four million

The universities will closely involve imec and ASML in the collaboration and investigate which other parties can join. TU/e recently already signed an extensive cooperation agreement with ASML. Together, the universities will invest at least four million euros, and that amount will most likely increase by recruiting additional funds and possible new courses.

“We have high expectations from this cooperation,” said TU/e Rector Silvia Lenaerts. “As top institutions in the field of semicon, both embedded in their own regional knowledge and innovation ecosystem, we complement each other perfectly. Europe faces a considerable challenge in gaining a better position in the global semiconductor sector. This is crucial for our strategic autonomy, earning power, and solving societal challenges. This collaboration is an essential step in that regard.”

KU Leuven Rector Luc Sels is enthusiastic about the collaboration: “We speak the same language in many ways. I am very pleased that we can build on our trust-based relationship, geographic proximity, and existing collaborations with TU/e to further position our interconnected regions as an important backbone of the European semiconductor landscape.”

Future Chips Flagship

TU/e has been active in semiconductor technology for more than 50 years. Some 700 TU/e researchers are currently working in this field in the university’s Future Chips flagship. Last year, TU/e already signed a letter of intent with KU Leuven and RWTH Aachen for cooperation in AI.