IMEC, TNO Initiate Holst Centre for Wireless Microsystems, System-in-Foil

9/20/2005 - The Belgian R&D institute IMEC and neighboring Dutch TNO have announced the creation of The Holst Centre, a new research center that will develop future generations of wireless autonomous transducer solutions and systems-in-foil. Within the center, IMEC (Flanders, Belgium) and TNO (The Netherlands) join forces. Philips, a leading player in the field of polymer electronics and microsystems, has committed to become the first industrial partner.

Laurens Jan Brinkhorst, Dutch minister of economic affairs and Fientje Moerman, Belgium's Flemish minister of economics, science and innovation, have given the go-ahead for the new Holst Centre to be located at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

According to Minister Brinkhorst, The Netherlands has already committed EUR 12.5 million to complete the first phase of the cooperation agreement. The Holst Centre will begin with 75 employees.

The Holst Centre will start with two strategic program initiatives. IMEC will lead the wireless autonomous transducer solutions initiative. The system-in-foil research and development initiative will be managed by TNO. The synergy between both initiatives will be fully utilized by the creation of joint strategic R&D activities.

IMEC is recognized as a leading institute in research for IC process technologies, advanced microsystems and system design. Within the Holst Centre, IMEC will expand its current research for wireless autonomous microsystems with focus on ultra-low-power radio; ultra-low-power signal processing; micro-power generation, storage and management; sensor and actuator technology.

The new legal entity to be set up in The Netherlands by IMEC will integrate these building blocks to realize solutions for the future deployment of autonomous wireless transducer networks.

TNO is a recognized R&D partner of industries in areas such as high-end equipment for the IC industry, optical instrumentation, automotive and materials processing. It has built expertise around the industrialization of microsystems and polymer electronics, which it will contribute to the Holst Centre. In the Holst Centre, capabilities in the fields of printing of polymers, large-area deposition and structuring of thin layers and esign of device architectures will be further developed. The Centre will use these capabilities to create and demonstrate 'sensing and acting surfaces', large-area, thin-layered products such as organic lighting and signage, sensor tags and organic electronics.

Key application areas for both wireless autonomous microsystems and for system-in-foil products will be targeted from the long list of potential user domains such as healthcare and lifestyle, industrial process monitoring & control, agriculture, mobile gaming, automotive, home and industrial buildings, transportation/logistics/asset management.

It is recognized by major industrial players that intensive cooperation in an open innovation spirit is essential for successful long-term, cost-effective research and future product innovation. Interaction and cooperation with both academia and the industry, including small- and medium-sized enterprises, enables the Holst Centre to tune its scientific strategy to the long-term corporate product strategies of its partners. A beneficial transfer of technology to the industry is guaranteed and market requirements can be anticipated. Some industrial and university partners have already expressed their intention to participate such an R&D-collaboration.

The Holst Centre will operate as a program organization, offering industries research based on well-defined roadmaps. Companies, institutes and universities around the world are invited to collaborate in the two program initiatives of the Holst Centre.

The start of the Holst Centre was made possible by the financing of The Netherlands' Ministry of Economic Affairs, together with the contributions of other partners.

The center is named after Gilles Holst, a Dutch pioneer in research and development and first director of Philips Research.

About IMEC
IMEC is a world-leading independent research center in nanoelectronics and nanotechnology. Its research focuses on the next generations of chips and systems, and on the enabling technologies for ambient intelligence. IMEC's research bridges the gap between fundamental research at universities and technology development in industry. Its unique balance of processing and system know-how, intellectual property portfolio, state-of-the-art infrastructure and its strong network of companies, universities and research institutes worldwide, position IMEC as a key partner with which to develop and improve technologies for future systems.

IMEC is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and has representatives in the US, China and Japan. Its staff of more than 1300 people includes over 400 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2004, its revenues were EUR 159 million.

About TNO
As an independent R&D organization, TNO turns knowledge into practical applications and so contributes to the innovative capacity of business, both at home and abroad, as well as social and international organizations. The expertise of the 5,500 TNO employees focuses on five core areas:

  1. Quality of life
  2. Defense and public safety
  3. Advanced products, processes and systems
  4. Natural and manmade environment
  5. ICT and services

In these core areas, TNO provides a broad package of products and services, from advising on policy, products and services and performing contract research to the testing and evaluation of products and systems and certification according to international standards. In addition, TNO focuses on future knowledge issues through the TNO Co-financing program, with co-financing through business that helps establish the direction of this knowledge development. Finally, TNO provides licenses to some 600 inventions in its patents portfolio. As an independent organization, TNO turns knowledge into practical applications and so contributes to the innovative capacity of business, both at home and abroad, as well as social and international organizations.

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