Research Infrastructures - ASCENTPlus



ASCENT+ will provide a European-wide direct access route to world-leading expertise, advanced equipment and state-of-the-art technologies to enable a smooth and consistent transition of the European industry to a new era in nanoelectronics. Advancing and broadening the offer of the first ASCENT programme, ASCENT+ integrates a unique €2.5bn+ worth research infrastructure of distributed ‘Access Providers’ to offer key enabling capabilities to its users through a Single Entry Point and a user-focused Access Interface. ASCENTPlus brings together 15 partners, including academia to advance the access offering. The project is coordinated by Tyndall National Institute (Ireland), started in September 2020, and will run until August 2024. 

Project description

Several European and global foresight studies have indicated that next generation nanoelectronics is driven by needs in achieving:

  1. quantum advantage using solid-state platforms;
  2. low-power, energy-efficient, high-performance computing based on disruptive devices;
  3. increased functionality through advanced integration of a diverse range of materials and innovative technologies.

However, increased complexity, interdisciplinary and scaling challenges make it impossible for smaller research groups to either develop all necessary expertise and platform technologies or afford multi-million euro equipment matching their diverse needs. At present, academic researchers and technologists, including innovative SMEs, struggle to develop industry-relevant disruptive technologies as there is limited access to state-of-the-art processing, modelling and simulation data sets, metrology and characterization, and devices or test structures for nanoelectronics. ASCENT+ will lower the barriers for researchers in the field as the backbone of a European Nanoelectronics Research Infrastructure that offers access to such key enabling capabilities.

At the same time, the ASCENT+ consortium will perform complementary Joint Research Activities (JRAs) to improve its access offering. JRAs focus on developing the necessary processes and exchange protocols to deepen the integration of the distributed research infrastructure as well as advancing the state-of-the-art of prototype platforms through the development of new test structures, modelling tools and characterization methods. The ASCENT+ consortium incorporates academic partners responsible for delivering frontier research within the JRAs across various disciplines including materials science, modelling & simulation, fabrication, device engineering, metrology and characterization. By involving these partners to work directly with the Access Providers, ASCENT+ will achieve the most effective and efficient knowledge transfer to improve the access offering.


To serve the ASCENT+ vision and the overall mission, specific project objectives are:

  • Consolidate the seamless integration of the infrastructure and provide a simplified user-centric access
  • Lower the barriers for academics and industry researchers, in particular junior researchers and from SMEs, to address emerging challenges in nanoelectronics with global impact
  • Foster a large multidisciplinary user base around the new challenges posed by the Nanoelectronics Technology Drivers of Quantum Advantage, Low-Power/High-Performance and Functional Diversity
  • Accelerate path-finding from fundamental principles to proof-of-concept and capture the innovation potential
  • Ensure long-term sustainability of the infrastructure and the ecosystem

Role of Ghent University

Together with imec and other partners, UGent will work towards the enhancement of the offer of GaN-on-SOI samples and GaN-IC circuit design by developing new models for the GaN power devices, by optimizing device design and layout, and also by driving the development of test structures and test wafer design. The various outputs, including new derived models and library devices will be included in the Process Design Kits (PDKs) offered to the user community by imec.

Website and media

Website: ascent network

Press: press release 6 October 2020


Link to Universita degli Studi di Padova and SiNANO Institute


Prof. Dr. Benoit Bakeroot
Centre for Microsystems Technology, Department of Electronics and Information Systems
Phone number: +32 92645369