It is exceptional times we are living in. In an effort to contain the coronavirus, approximately one-third of the world’s population has been subjected to some form of lockdown. Needless to say, this has tremendous impact on all of us – physically, mentally and economically.
Ever since the first indications of an upcoming pandemic,
imec has been putting in a lot of effort to protect the health and wellbeing of you, the imec community (employees, visiting researchers and partners across the globe – as well as your families).
As you read this blog post, I truly hope all is well with you and your beloved ones!
In parallel, imec has been rolling out a crisis management plan to make sure our operations keep on running. For the last three weeks, scores of imec employees have been telecommuting – doing research, supporting our partners from their home offices. And detailed arrangements have been put in place to keep imec’s beating heart – our labs and fabs – operational; with people working in separate (back-up) teams without physical interaction. To ensure the health of our people onsite, we have implemented very strict social distancing and hygienic measures.
Reassuring signs from across the tech industry
I am very happy to see that all those measures are paying off!
Our fab, for instance, is running at a 100% capacity.
And, actually, similar reassuring signs can be observed across the international tech scene. In spite of the challenging circumstances, the tech and semiconductor industries appear to be holding up!
Should this come as a surprise? Perhaps not. In these difficult times, particularly, I am witnessing a surge of solidarity, commitment and sense of responsibility – both at imec and our partners.
That being said, whereas we remain on schedule to deliver on our promises, we continue to monitor the situation very closely – so that we can fulfill our commitments in the weeks and months ahead as well.
It is our duty to start preparing for the post-corona era
Today, two closely intertwined topics are on everyone’s mind: health and the economy.
The first topic is an obvious one: the world is literally at war with this new coronavirus – with doctors and nurses acting as our first line of defense.
But let us not forget about the economy either. That is where we – the tech and semiconductor industries – have an important role to play. As key contributors to the local and global economies, it is our duty to start preparing for the post-corona era!
It is unclear if industry will return to its ‘usual business’ somewhere in the second quarter – or if more time will be required. It is unclear as well what the economic impact will be on the semiconductor and high-tech industries. But I strongly believe that it is – more than ever – key to look beyond the corona crisis. We have to continue to invest in the future, even under these most uncertain circumstances. Companies have to invest in their future to be ready when the economy picks up again.
At imec, we are convinced investing in innovation will be crucial to make sure the economy – and society – can quickly ramp up again after the defeat of this common enemy.
Innovation through collaboration, by bringing together the world’s best researchers, has been imec’s backbone for the past 30 years. We are committed to keep fulfilling that role in the post-corona era as well.
Hence, today, I would very much like to call upon you to join that effort – and to jointly emerge out of this crisis as even more relevant industrial and societal stakeholders!
New collaboration formats
It goes without saying that – in the short-term – we will need to come up with some more creative ways of facilitating collaboration and joint innovation. Also there, imec is not sitting idle.
Imec’s Partner Technical Week (PTW), for instance, is still scheduled to take place in the third week of April. This time, however, the 700+ delegates will be invited to attend all presentations, meetings and discussions in a virtual way. As we speak, we are working out the details on how to maximize interactivity in this new digital format. Essentially, however, this will boil down to ‘flying our own jets’ – i.e. using the technologies that we – as a tech industry – are enabling.
Let us stay in touch! In the meantime, please take care of yourself and the people around you!
Luc Van den hove
President and CEO of imec
1 April 2020