Over the past few years, Villach, the second-largest city in the Austrian state of Carinthia, has developed into a hotspot for micro and nanoelectronics technology. Austria’s leading research company, Infineon Technologies, is based in the state, demonstrating its credentials as a tech hub.
In November 2018, Infineon invested €1.6bn ($1.8bn) into its Villach headquarters. Today, it is the world’s most advanced semiconductor factory, with a perfected, fully automated production process that produces ultra-thin, 300mm semiconductor wafers, alongside a cutting-edge research and development complex. The company is one of the leading global exporters in electrical technology, all of which is manufactured in-house in Carinthia.
There are other market-leading big tech firms located in Villach, including Lam Research and Intel. These companies work alongside research-intensive SMEs to chart the course of future developments in electronics, microelectronics, mechatronics, sensors and robotics.
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Carinthia’s commercial viability is enhanced by its mature research landscape. Five independent research centres, together with the work carried out by the Alpen-Adria University and the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences, contribute to the province’s high degree of innovation. The largest research and development institution in the state is Silicon Austria Labs, one of Europe’s leading research institutions in electronic-based systems. In fact, Villach is one of the three locations in Austria (along with Graz and Linz) that specialise in intelligent sensors and power electronics.
As well as being a melting pot for research and innovation, Carinthia has a highly skilled and productive workforce on offer
While Villach is the home of microelectronics, Klagenfurt is the provincial capital of Carinthia and the state’s world-class IT centre. At its heart lies the 34,000sq m Lakeside Science and Technology Park, which provides excellent synergy between companies, researchers and educational institutions. The park is currently home to more than 70 companies and around 1,300 employees. In addition, there are three research facilities and the Educational Lab, which offers modules in a variety of topics, such as new areas of research. It also offers inspiration to young people, encouraging them to get involved in the sciences. Furthermore, the park is home to Carinthia’s start-up developer, build! Gründerzentrum Kärnten.
This highly conducive environment provides an optimal framework for organisations making cutting-edge advances in their respective fields. For example, the park is home to a branch of Joanneum Research, a pioneering robotics institute, and Lakeside Labs, which specialises in ‘self-organising networked systems’. At present, the park is investing around €30m ($33m) for an additional 9,000sq m of innovation space and laboratories to attract more forward-thinking researchers from all over Europe.
BABEG Invest in Carinthia is currently designing a 5G Playground and a new digital innovation hub, which will be based inside the Lakeside Science and Technology Park. Once complete, companies and researchers will be able to use the playground to test, develop and research all kinds of applications, software systems and 5G products in this unique indoor and outdoor laboratory.
In addition to such fantastic infrastructure and investment, one of the biggest advantages to Carinthia is its enviable position on both European transport corridors – the Baltic-Adriatic Corridor and the Tauern Line. Everything is quick to get to within the state as well, making it extremely convenient for businesses.
As well as being a melting pot for research and innovation, Carinthia has a highly skilled and productive workforce on offer. Carinthia’s business-friendly policies provide companies with a stable environment, a good funding structure and the security to plan ahead. These factors complement Carinthia’s high quality of life, family-friendly environment and excellent education system for children of all ages. Carinthia is a truly special place in which to live, work and innovate – with its beautiful surrounding landscapes, sublime mountains and crystal-clear lakes, it is easy to balance highly productive industry with natural beauty.