The past few weeks have proven to be of great significance for the semiconductor industry in India. The announcements made during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the White House in June 2023 represent the dawn of a revitalized semiconductor ecosystem in India.
As a key enabler of modern technology, semiconductors are integral to various sectors, including information technology, telecommunications, automotive, healthcare, and consumer electronics. Given India's aspirations to become a global technology hub, a knowledgeable semiconductor workforce is essential to drive innovation, create job opportunities, and enhance the country's competitiveness on the world stage.
India’s semiconductor vision calls for a large pool of trained engineers conversant in nanofabrication technologies. According to the Government of India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) estimates, India will require 10,000 to 13,000 skilled engineers by 2027 to meet industry requirements.
The training for semiconductor engineers is often challenging because of the prohibitive barriers to providing physical access to advanced facilities and nanotechnologies, which are expensive to build. What’s more, build-and-test cycles in a semiconductor fab are time-consuming. India is no stranger to these limitations.
That's why Lam Research introduced an initiative to overcome these obstacles and directly address a critical requirement to achieve PM Modi’s vision of India becoming a strong semiconductor nation. In July, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Centre for Nano Science and Engineering (CeNSE) at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru to jointly develop a customized course offering for Indian universities to teach semiconductor fabrication technology using Lam Research’s Semiverse™ Solutions virtual fabrication software, SEMulator3D®, and a virtual nano fabrication environment.
Lam Research-IISc MoU Exchange Ceremony at SemiconIndia 2023. Third from left to right: Sesha Varadarajan, SVP and GM, Global Products Group, Lam Research, Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Hon'ble Minister of State for Electronics & Information Technology and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Rangesh Raghavan, CVP and GM, Lam Research India, Prof. Navakanta Bhat, Dean, Inter-disciplinary Sciences Division & Professor, CeNSE, IISc, Prof. Srinivasan Raghavan, Professor and Chair CeNSE, IISc.
The program starts in August 2023 with a cohort of 30 students with a focus on device integration, including physical design learning, process flow development, and virtual metrology. IISc and Lam Research will work on the framework Pilot Course syllabus with the first stage expected to be completed by December 2023 and the second stage by June 2024. After the pilot with IISc, we aim to align this curriculum with the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) curricula with the goal of upskilling up to 60,000 engineers over the next 10 years.
Lam Research aims to make semiconductor training accessible to engineering students across the country by offering a virtual learning environment just as the Universal Payments Interface (UPI) made digital payments accessible to millions in India. By eliminating the need for a complex physical banking infrastructure, UPI made digital payments accessible to even remote areas of the country, resulting in a surge in digital transactions and financial inclusion.
India's focus on developing a skilled workforce and creating a favorable ecosystem for innovation is a landmark move in elevating India's technology prowess. With initiatives like the partnership between Lam Research and the Indian Institute of Science, we can expect to see continued growth and advancements in semiconductor technology that will contribute to India's position as a global technology hub. The future of the semiconductor industry in India is bright and Lam Research is proud to help lead the way.
Rangesh Raghavan is the corporate vice president and general manager of Lam Research India