Luc Van den hove, President and CEO of imec
2017 was a year full of challenges, but also a year in which imec – once again – managed to grow considerably.
One of the most important challenges in 2017 (yet also one of the biggest opportunities) was the integration of imec and iMinds. It goes without saying that, during this integration exercise, we had to deal with questions and uncertainties. And any merger comes with a continuous learning process. But I am very proud that, today, we can look back on a successful trajectory that has proven to be a source of enthusiasm and inspiration. Over the past year, individual colleagues and entire research teams have found each other and have started to leverage the synergies between their research disciplines to further enrich and strengthen our portfolio.
2017: a successful integration trajectory that has started to pay off
We are working hard, for instance, to develop the next generations of immersive technologies (such as augmented reality applications) that trigger all our senses; a research track that leverages our combined expertise in chip development and image processing. Or how about the imec.ichange program, in which our (stress) sensor specialists have joined forces with the imec.livinglabs colleagues and sociologists from SMIT (an imec research group at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel)? Together, they want to encourage people to change their behavior and live more healthily. And also in the smart mobility domain we have started to bring together imec's most advanced technologies (such as LIDAR) with our new application focus (such as image processing and recognition) to create groundbreaking solutions that will eventually enable the concept of the self-driving car.
But, obviously, we are also looking ahead. That is why, in 2017, we laid the foundation of several new research tracks in which our combined software and hardware expertise will once again make a very clear difference. Think of breakthroughs in artificial intelligence – including machine learning – and quantum computing. In those domains as well, imec wishes to have a solid presence in the coming years!
2018: continuing to adapt ourselves to a rapidly-changing world
So, what exactly are our priorities for 2018? In any case, our ambition is to become an even more relevant partner – locally and internationally.
Hence, we will continue to adjust and strengthen our technology portfolio in order to anticipate the very rapid technological evolution that the digital and nanotech industries are going through. In addition, we are expanding our range of business and collaboration models (such as imec.icon, imec.IC-link, imec.livinglabs and our prototyping expertise) – so that we can assist companies even better when it comes to product and process innovation.
A nice example is the imec.xpand early-stage innovation fund that is really getting up to speed. During the last call for ideas, we collected more than 70 proposals for potential ventures. A number of those ideas are now going through the various imec.xpand development stages, but you will undoubtedly hear more about that throughout 2018.
In other words, 2018 will be another year full of opportunities; and every one of those opportunities, imec wants to grab. So, make sure to keep us on your radar! Because 2018 is poised to become a very exciting year for us – and for our partners!
And the opportunities that we have taken in 2017? You will find a short recap, featuring some personal sources of inspiration, in the list below – and throughout this edition of imec Magazine.