IIT Hyderabad to provide UG course in VLSI design and technology

The Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad will soon start offering an undergraduate course in very-large-scale integration (VLSI) design and technology, the first of its kind undergraduate program in the country that aims to kickstart the building of semiconductor engineers and technical talent pool in India. This follows discussions between the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the All India Council for Technical Education, three officials in know of the development said.

For the training of shop floor technicians, the government has tied up with Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute and The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore, sources said.

“We are in talks with about 100 institutions of which nearly 26 partnerships have been firmed up so far. Institutes of higher education, as well as those offering diplomas and other courses, have also been roped in. AICTE has approved the necessary changes to the course framework,” a senior government official said.

While IIT Hyderabad will be the first institute of higher education to start the program, other institutes are also likely to initiate admissions to the course soon, another senior government official said. A mail sent to IIT Hyderabad did not elicit any response.

The courses are a part of the IT ministry’s plan to train 85,000 engineers for various roles in the semiconductor industry apart from nearly 2.5 lakh shop floor technicians and junior engineers.

“For engineers who will eventually work on integrated chip design and technology as well as for shop floor technicians, the courses have been designed keeping in mind the need and requirements raised by industry partners,” one of the officials quoted above said.

According to sources, the feedback from global companies operating in the semiconductor chip design and manufacturing process was that although India had a lot of engineers at the senior level including in management roles, there were almost no employable graduates at the trainee level.

“While the basic technology is the same, companies in this (semiconductor) space require their engineers to work on very specific modules for which early training is required. That is where these graduates are expected to fill the space,” another government official said.

Earlier this year in April, the AICTE had allowed institutions to offer two new diploma and undergraduate level courses, which included a diploma in the integrated chip manufacturing process and a bachelor's degree in VLSI design and technology.

“With reference to the Program for Development of Semiconductors and Display manufacturing ecosystem in India as approved by the Cabinet, it is pertinent that the aspirations of India to set-up semiconductors and display manufacturing ecosystem would require market-ready, the talent pool in the field of semiconductors and display which ultimately’ would require a clear roadmap of capacity building,” the official circular from AICTE had then said.