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Punjab Government Approves Funding for Chip Design at Eight Universities

UET Lahore leads the development of micro and Nano-electronics chip design technologies at various universities of the Punjab. The provincial government approves Rs 41.75 Million for establishing chip design centers at eight universities. Integrated Circuits (ICs), commonly known as chips, have radically altered the industry and nanotechnology has greatly contributed to major advances in computing and electronics, leading to faster, smaller, and more portable systems that can process, manage, and store larger and larger amounts of information. Chip design technology is one of the most important and significant technologies globally in the electronics industry today. With the COVID-19 crisis disrupting supply chains and geopolitical tensions increasing, semiconductor companies have become more interested in achieving end-to-end design and manufacturing capabilities for leading-edge technologies.  

Many governments share this interest and are attempting to support their local semiconductor markets. As the world is moving towards achieving excellence in leading edge technologies, Pakistan is still lagging way behind in terms of any R&D Centre that could tap in the potential available in chip design technologies and could train a work force for both academia and industry. Local Universities in Pakistan are not extensively teaching the skills which are flourishing quite rapidly all over the world such as the micro and Nano-electronics IC design because of the lack of highly trained faculty and academic resources in these domains. In this perspective, the minister for Higher Education Punjab, Raja Yasir Humayun Sarfraz, took an initiative of skills development in micro and Nano-electronics design technologies in the universities of the Punjab. Conceiving the idea, Minster Higher Education constituted a committee comprising Vice Chancellors of the relevant universities, few experts in the domain, and some key officials from the Planning and Development wing and Higher Education Department of the provincial government.  

With the stated position that “we cannot afford to wait anymore since leading players are already years ahead in technology development,” Raja Yasir Humayun further supported his brainchild with the grant of permission and funds necessary for execution of the project. Being a software and hardware engineer himself with a degree from a well-known American university, Minister Higher Education is quite clear headed that the future of semiconductor industry belongs to advancements in Nano-electronics chip design technologies. With the intention of promoting R&D Culture and to train faculty in the universities of the Punjab, a project has been given the go-ahead by the ministry of higher education Government of the Punjab for the provision of software and hardware facilities for Microelectronic Design and Development in eight universities of the province. Vice Chancellor UET Lahore, Prof. Dr Syed Mansoor Sarwar, has been nominated as convener of the committee as his university takes lead in providing technical guidance and support to the universities of the Punjab. Other members of the committee include VC ITU, Lahore, DG IT, PITB, AS Planning and Budget, HED and Director KICS-UET, Lahore. “It is a very important initiative in which Punjab has taken the lead, thanks to personal interest of Minister Higher Education,” said Dr Sarwar.  

With this project eight universities in the province will be provided with the necessary hardware and design software tools in two phases. Four universities during the current financial year and four the next year. UET Lahore, UET Taxila, ITU Lahore, and Islamia University Bahawalpur this year and MNS UET Multan, KF UEIT Rahim Yar Khan, University of Gujrat, and University of Chakwal next year. One of the prominent objectives of this project is to introduce essential courses at the undergrad and graduate levels at these universities. Through these courses, students will be trained in the use of commercial grade IC design and verification tools. The graduates will be industry ready or will need minimal training before they become a productive part of the IC design industry locally as well as internationally. 

 

UET, Lahore