Setting Priorities is Critical to Leveraging Limited Funds
This week, iNEMI welcomes Dr. Alan Rae, Executive Director of IncubatorWorks and Chair of the iNEMI Research Committee. He is writing about the iNEMI Research Priorities.
The electronics industry is an enabler for many of the social changes that are happening at an accelerating pace — things that most of us never even thought of 10 years ago, such as ubiquitous hand-held devices coupled with the rise of the Cloud, music and video on demand, self-driving vehicles, telemedicine, the “Internet of Everything,” people-friendly robots, and even Pokemon Go!
A 10-Year Vision
Part of iNEMI's planning methodology is to develop a 10-year research vision to help focus limited R&D resources in an effort to ensure development of the innovative technologies required to maintain growth in the electronics industry. Research needs are identified and prioritized through the iNEMI roadmaps and follow-on gap analysis activities.
Top-Down and Bottom-Up Planning
iNEMI’s Research Committee takes a top-down and bottom-up approach to defining the issues we need to address to meet the needs of the industry and society in the 2020s. Bottom-up, we use the immense data in the iNEMI roadmap, which is generated by participants worldwide and can point out areas where there is no current answer to anticipated issues. Top-down, we look at macro trends where initiatives like the Trillion Sensor initiative point out the fact that we just can’t get there from here using the designs and production methods we have now. The result is a set of prioritized needs — the iNEMI Research Priorities.
These priorities are long-term and typically pre-commercial. So the main audience is the major OEMs and corporations who still do basic research – IBM, Samsung, Apple, GE, Nokia, Hitachi to name a few; research universities; government laboratories and especially standards organizations (we would not have wireless communications without standards). Government policymakers can also direct support to areas that need assistance. The National Nanotechnology Initiative in the USA and Graphene Flagship in Europe are two examples.
As manufacturing has become more distributed, the responsibility for R&D investments has been pushed down into the supply chain to companies that have traditionally operated with small profit margins. With less funding available for long-term research, it is more important than ever for industry to identify the key enabling technologies required for continued innovation and to concentrate R&D on those areas where there is the greatest need.
A Shared Vision
Commercializing new products may begin in universities and transition to a host of start-ups as well as being directly licensed to larger companies. That is a major reason why iNEMI makes its Research Priorities freely available to all – the more widely these issues are understood, the better chance of coming up with innovative solutions.
So please, download and read the Research Priorities, pass them on to friends and colleagues and see what opportunities arise!