Research centre imec expects to hire 2,000 new employees by 2035

Flemish research centre imec expects to add 1,950 new employees to its Leuven campus by 2035 if its current growth continues, it announced on Thursday. Currently, almost 4,000 of its more than 5,500 employees work in Leuven.

The growth projections include the construction of several office buildings and spaces, with construction of one building to start in 2025. The long-term vision for the research centre was presented to local residents last week. "If everything continues to go well, this is what is possible on the Leuven campus," CEO Luc Van den Hove said.

The new jobs cover a range of functions, from operators and technicians who maintain the equipment to engineers and researchers in physics and chemistry. "We are also increasing the number of PhD students because we have an important responsibility in the development of skills," van den Hove said. "In this sense, we want to strengthen our cooperation with universities."

New cleanroom

The plans also include the construction of a new cleanroom, a completely shock- and dust-free space for carrying out chip technology research. Imec, world-renowned for its chip research, acts as a bridge between the laboratory and the industrial world: companies come to the cleanroom to test their chip innovations and analyse how they can move from small scale to mass production.

The research centre will almost certainly be able to count on EU funding. Commission president Ursula von der Leyen visited in July and said she saw an "essential role" for imec in the context of the recently concluded European Chips Act. The Flemish government has also announced that it will contribute 1 euro for every euro provided by the EU, up to 750 million euros.

It is not yet clear how much money imec will receive, Van den hove said. "We know that we are in a pretty good position, this has been confirmed by politicians at various levels, and the negotiations are constructive. That makes us hopeful, but the funding will only be there when it is there."


#FlandersNewsService | Imec's cleanroom © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK

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