(Dresden/Frankfurt a. M., Oct. 18, 2023) Demand for semiconductors has been rising globally for years, because microchips are an integral part of a modern way of life. They are utilized in consumer electronics and medical technology, in e-cars and production equipment. Intact value chains at international, but also at national level are therefore becoming increasingly important. Events such as the MST-Congress organized by VDE VDI GMM (Society for Microelectronics, Microsystems and Precision Engineering in the Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies) and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research make an important contribution to emphasize the importance of microelectronics and strengthen innovation networks. "We can see that this awareness has now arrived everywhere with the European Chips Act, the billions of euros in funding for chip plants or the establishment of the Forschungsfabrik Mikroelektronik in Berlin," says VDE President Alf Henryk Wulf. "However, we must not leave it at that and still have a lot to do, especially in the area of young talent."
Moving sustainably into the future with microelectronics
The number of vacancies for electrical engineers resulting from retirement in Germany will be around 13,800 per year from 2023. However, the energy transition, heat and mobility turnaround can only be realized if the necessary technologies can be developed and implemented. Nevertheless, there are too few young people who are enthusiastic about STEM subjects, and electrical engineering has been struggling with image problems and declining student and graduate numbers for a while now. In order to address the causes of this trend, the VDE and its partners have conducted a series of studies with more than 1,000 students and pupils to find out where the problems lie. One of the core issues is that electrical engineering hardly appears in the search for a course of study because the image of the blue-collar worker or instructional employee predominates. In addition, the dropout rate during studies is high, which is often justified by a lack of practical relevance.
Attracting young talents via environmental and climate protection
Wulf notes: "There are many measures we can take. But in order to inspire a new generation of engineers who are committed to environmental and climate protection, we should talk much more about the fact that electrical engineering is in the context of sustainability. Solar panels or heating systems that are smartly controlled, optimized battery charging cycles and autonomous driving cars are only possible with microelectronics – and we need bright minds for that." To make sure this message is heard, VDE is pushing forward with a variety of initiatives for young talent. Two of them will be concluded with festive award ceremonies during the MST Congress 2023: The INVENT a CHIP school student competition and the COSIMA contest. In INVENT a CHIP, pupils in German grades 9 to 13 design their own microchip; in COSIMA, students present new uses for sensors and microsystems to make people's lives easier – like a T-shirt to combat back pain.
About the MST-Congress
Under the motto "In the Sign of Sustainability and Technology Sovereignty", the MikroSystemTechnik Congress 2023 will bring together experts from various fields to exchange views on current trends ranging from Trusted Electronics and Green ICT to Next Generation Computing & Co. More information at https://www.mikrosystemtechnik-kongress.de/de (German version). You can also find the detailed program here (in German).
When: October 23 - 25, 2023
Where: Maritim Congress Center, Dresden