Industry needs analysis for developing new skills in nano-electronics


Philippe Morey-Chaisemartin, CIME-Nanotech, Grenoble, France
Slavka Tzanova, Technical University of Sofia, Bulgaria
Silvia Schintke, HEIG-VD, Switzerland
Danilo Demarchi, Politechnico di Torino, Italy
Jack Barokas, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Fabian Wleklinski, eWorks, Frankfurt, Germany
Jean-Marc Melique, SITELESC, Paris, France
Eric Beisser, Xyalis, Grenoble, France

Conference: 9th European Workshop on Microelectronics Education EWME’12, At Grenoble, France


NanoSkills[Nan, 2012] is a project belonging to Leonardo program and sponsored by EACEA[EAC, 2012]. Its is developed by a consortium of both universities and SMEs. The role of the the universities is to develop online courses on nanoelectronics while the SMEs will help to setup a professional environment and to validate it. The goal of the project is to provide master level courses to both students and employees. The content of the courses should bring the learners, the skills expected by the industry to work on the most advanced topics of nano-electronics. In order to fulfill the industry needs, a preliminary analysis has been performed among the various customers. This paper describes this analysis. We will fist detail the elaboration of the questionnaire. We will then review the answers, and finally analyze the results in order to select the most important courses to be developed.


We have first established a list of courses according to the miscellaneous competences available in the various universities which are involved in the project. The courses have been selected to cover as much topics as possible in relationship with nano-electronics. Fifteen different courses have been elected:
• Bioelectronics
• Carbon Nanotubes for Field Emitter Applications
• Characterization and use of carbon nanotubes
• Defaults and Non-invasive Testing of Nano-devices
• Design of Nanoscale MOS ICs
• Impact of nano-metric effects on ULSI system performances
• Magnetic Microsystems applications
• Microsystems simulation & characterization
• Nano-materials
• Nano-positioning and Electrical Nano-probes for Nanoelectronics
• Nanoscale sensing elements and device production
• Nano-structures for optical and magnetic applications
• Next generation lithography
• Organic Thin Film Devices
• Scanning Probe Microscopy Applications for Nanoelectronics


In order to easily collect the feedback from all potential customers, aWEB based survey has been set up. A well known tool: LimeSurvey[Lim, 2011a][Lim, 2011b], has been chosen. LimeSurvey offers several advanced features. It provides basic statistical and graphical analysis of survey results. The survey by itself, doesn’t only consists in selecting some courses among a given list but has been established to point out the real needs. This implies to define short term needs as well as long term needs.
Short term needs represent the current expectation of the industry regarding the skills of their employees for the next 3 years. Long term needs (3 years and more) try to reveal what is the industry road map. With this second objective, we may be able to prepare both students and workers to the future needs in the nano-electronic activity.
The survey has been submitted at the European level in the different countries of the various partners of the project. This covers: France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Israel.
In order to define the priorities, it was important to collect not only the feedback of each person answering the survey but also to have an idea of the number of persons involved. Thus, a manager may answer for all his related team. The different questions have been established to answer all these concerns:

1) What is your current position. For this question, the user is expected to select 1 answer among: Teacher, Engineer, Technician, Group Leader, General Manager, Other. When other is selected, some more information can be added.
2) How many persons with technical skills are working in your entity ? The answers to this question should give a good view of the global needs.
3) For each course, give the expected skills for short term need (< 3 years). The answers are selected from one of: No need, Low, Average, High, Mandatory. This will give a level for each course: from 0 to 4. See figure 1.

Figure 1. Expected skills survey
4) Same for long term need ( > 3 years)
5) Could you rank at least the 6 first topics according to your own interest. This question has been added to show, if any, the gap between the interest and the need.
6) According to your 6 most important topics, what would be the skill level you expect to find among your employees / colleagues. The goal of this additional question is to correlate the different answers and confirm the results based on the first answers. To answer this question, the user select the repartition of his subordinates with the different knowledge levels (Expert, Advanced, Basic). For example, 10% of the employees should be experts of the domain and 50% should have an advanced knowledge. If the total is less than 100%, remaining employees may not have any particular skill in the domain. See figure 2.

Figure 2. Repartition of skills among employees


Thanks to SITELESC which is partner of the project, the survey has been submitted to many representatives of the microelectronic companies. We have collected 85 answers. This is a reasonable score considering the short delay available for this analysis in order to start the courses development as soon as possible and in the time frame of the project. Some of these answers were incomplete and in order to have reliable results, we decided to take into account only fully completed answers. If we consider that most of the answers have been provided by managers leading large teams, the analysis should cover the needs of about 14500 persons. The following chart shows the repartition of the responsibility level of the persons who answered the survey.

Figure 3. Users profile

It is important to notice that about 40% of the persons who answered the survey are group leaders or general managers. Repartition of others is almost homogeneous between technicians, engineers and teachers. We can conclude that the results from this survey are very representative of the real global needs.
We applied a weighting to the answers according to the number of employees reporting to the person answering the survey. But a direct weighting doesn’t give a usable result as some responsible of human resource may answer for many thousands of persons. We have then limited the weighting to a reasonable value in order to have statistical results not depending on the answer of one or two people. Figure 4 shows the results after correction of the weighting.

Figure 4. Repartition of skills

All the answers from this survey will not be presented in this paper. They are available from the authors upon request. Some of the most important results will be pointed out in the following chapter.


The results of the survey are presented on NanoSkills WEB site [Sur, 2011]. The results are consistent and many interesting conclusions have been made. Regarding the level of interest, the score for each course goes from 0 (no interest) to 3 (high), so the average value is 1.5. All the proposed courses are considered to fulfill a more than average interest. We can first conclude that the university world is close to the industry needs. If we cross check the results from question 3 and 4 on one hand (expected skill level) with answers of question 5 and 6 on the other hand (interest and needs), globally the skills expected among employees are in close agreement with the individual objectives or interests. See figure 5.

Figure 5. Industry needs

However, some discrepancies occur for some topics like advanced lithography : everybody agrees to say that it is very important but enterprises seem not to really need employees with any competency in this domain. This can be explained by the fact that this task is generally subcontracted to external suppliers. Personal interest may be a little bit far from real needs : for example bioelectronics is ranked #1 as a personal interest but there is no real need at least for a short term. A topic like design of nanoscale ICs is not considered as a top priority request but when taking into account the number of people involved in this task, it becomes one of the most important demand in terms of expected skills. It is also important to notice that the short term needs are very close from the long term ones. This may be due to a lack of visibility for the future. Micro-electronics is currently at an important turn where the continuous improvement is no more viable and where a major break through is needed…


After a detailed analysis of the needs, both in term of interest and in term of potential trainees, a selection has been made among the proposed topics.

The following courses will then be developed :
• Microsystems simulation
• Nano structures for optical and magnetic applications
• Nanoscale sensing elements and device production
• Impact of nano-metric effects on ULSI system performances
• Design of Nanoscale MOS ICs
• Nano-materials Scanning Probe Microscopy
• Applications for Nano-electronics (Some parts of this course will be taken from Nano positioning and Electrical Nano-probes for Nano-electronics)
• Carbon Nanotubes for Field Emitter (cold cathode) Applications (Some parts of this course will be taken from Characterization and use of carbon nanotubes)


Furthermore, a course on advanced lithography will be added. No specific development will be made on this topic but it will be re-used as the result of a previous project. Even if the skills on topic are not clearly identified for employees, it is still in the top 3 of the industry needs, and the consortium has decided to provide at least a first overview on this topic. By using such surveys we expect to develop courses that really meet the industry expectations and not only purely theoretical. The courses will be publicly available at the end of the project, i.e. october 2013. They will be developed within the classical Moodle environment.


This work has been financially supported by the Leonardo da Vinci Program of the EACEA under grant number 510591-LLP-1-2010-1-FR-LEONARDO-LMP. The Swiss partner HEIG-VD acknowledges financial support of the Swiss State Secretariat for Education and Research (SER).


Lime survey, 2011a. URL http://www.limesurvey.org/.
Lime wiki, 2011b. URL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LimeSurvey.
Result of the survey, 2011. URL http://www.nanoskills.eu/results.html.
Erasmus mundus programme 2009-2013. WEB page, 2012. URL http://eacea.ec.europa.eu.
The website of the nanoskills project, 2012. URL http://www.nanoskills.eu/.

This site is registered on wpml.org as a development site. Switch to a production site key to remove this banner.