|Abstract. The situation in microelecronic industry before and after the year 1989 in the Czech Republic has changed dramatically. From our point of view the internationally based and funded projects helped a lot in the process of these changes. Some aspects in organizing such international projects are discussed namely how to prepare a project proposal that has the chance to be selected. COPERNICUS projects with participation of ASICentrum are briefly introduced. Contributions of COPERNICUS projects for the EEC participant are in transfer of know-how, upgrading of HW and SW and last but not least creating new links to universities, institutes and industry in other European countries.|
1. MICROELECTRONICS IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
There was little contact to the outer world before the year 1989. The main customer for microelectronic design centres was the state and the main design method was so called reverse engineering". They were three important centres in microelectronic industry in the former Czechoslovakia:
Lot has changed since the time.
This were changes on more or less macroeconomic level. Also on the level of a small company as ASICentrum a different situation is more than visible:
An important part concerning the last point played COPERNICUS
projects in our case.
2. HOW TO WRITE A PROJECT PROPOSAL
Here we would like to summarize some experience from our point of view that may help in organizing international projects in the future.
Ninety percent of the success is to find and to be integrated into the right team. It is necessary to have good personal contacts at the universities and institutes both home and abroad. Crucial point is the co-ordinator of the project and his previous experience with organizing similar projects. On one hand he must have very good name and authority in the field, on the other hand it is better, when he is not in a leading position of a bigger firm or institution so that he has time enough to do the hard co-ordinating job.
The second main condition to have the chance for the success is to respect all criteria announced in the moment of call for the project proposals". I had a chance to work in the evaluating team for INCO-COPERNICUS '96 Programme in Brussels and I can estimate some 50 % of project proposals were rejected due to lack of conformity with the scope and objectives of the call for proposals, in other words violating some essential criteria.
Of course the project proposal must bring high benefits and must be of excellent technical quality. The work should be splitted into workpackages saying who will do what. Time planing and financial planing should be also included.
Last remark concerns the expectations. In all cases the sum of
financial means necessary to cover all the project proposals that
have arrived exceeds several times the financial means available.
Hence it is very normal that even promising project can be rejected.
From the applicant's point it is necessary to take it as a stochastic
process or, if you will, as a gamble. If you are involved in three
project proposals and none of them is successful, than it is a
bad luck; on the other hand the expectations to have success in
two proposals out of three are unrealistic..
3. ASICENTRUM AND COPERNICUS PROJECTS
ASICentrum is a small private company Ltd. It is an open design house co-operating with more foundries. All types of ASICs are being designed: both gate arrays, standard cells, full custom and programmable devices. Company has many contacts with universities, above all with Czech Technical University in Prague. It was also an Liaison Office of ChipShop for the Czech Republic.
ASICentrum was/is involved in three COPERNICUS projects:
First two projects ended in 1996, the third one will last until
1998. All of them contributed to upgrading of ASICentrum capabilities
and to know-how of ASICentrum stuff. Most important during the
work on the project is the communication among project partners.
It is of greatest advantage if all the partners have the e-mail
address. This makes the life much easier.
They are multiple contributions of COPERNICUS projects for the
EEC participants. Quality of technical and scientific work is
positively affected by transfer of know-how. This would not be
possible without upgrading of HW and SW. Last but not least the
joint projects support existing and create new links to universities,
institutes and industrial partners in other European countries.
COPERNICUS and similar projects supported by EC helped to save
lot of R&D potential in EEC. This support is a big investment
in the future.
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