Tsinghua opens 'chip college', targets bottleneck technologies urgently needed by China
Pioneer school targets bottleneck technologies urgently needed by China
Published: Apr 22, 2021 09:23 PM
Tsinghua University Photo: CFP

Tsinghua University Photo: CFP

Tsinghua University, one of China's top universities, established the School of Integrated Circuits on Thursday, the nation's first, to target research and the training of technicians in semiconductors. The school aims to help the country resolve the so-called "bottlenecks" that the US is restricting high-tech products to China.

Tsinghua University's integrated circuits school will be the first in China to offer a specialized major in the subject, which has an important meaning for the industry's development and acts as an incubator for the development of talent, Chinese experts said.

The school will focus on developing top-level research talent, and it will eventually offer master's degrees and PhDs, Qiu Yong, principal of Tsinghua University, said at the school's inauguration ceremony on Thursday.

The school aims to train high-level innovative technicians who are urgently needed in China to help do well in semiconductor manufacturing. 

The school will pursue breakthroughs in memory, processors, electronic design automation and semiconductor equipment to commercialize its fundamental research, Chi Baoyong, a professor at the new school, said in a media interview.

The integrated circuit is at the heart of all information technology industries, which have long had a heavy reliance on the West in some advanced areas. Given its great significance, the sector has become a target for the US in its bullying of Chinese firms.

However, enough skillful personnel are badly needed to narrow the gap of country's shortage of around 200,000 chip-related experts a year, open data showed.

"There were few schools, universities or even majors in the subject in China before the founding of Tsinghua University's school," Xiang Ligang, director general of the Beijing-based Information Consumption Alliance, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Xiang said that chip-making requires experts in both designing and manufacturing. "Computer engineers can take charge of the design process, while electrical engineers handle manufacturing."

Tsinghua University is the country's premium talent development base for the semiconductor sector, with more than 7,500 graduates since the establishment of its integrated circuits major in 1956, according to

"It is hoped that with the establishment of this school, the shortage of chips and technical problems can be alleviated," a director with the China Semiconductor Industry Association surnamed Ren told the Global Times on Thursday.

Jointly established by the Department of Microelectronics and Nano-electronics and the Department of Electronic Engineering of Tsinghua University, the new school will provide courses for students who major in related sectors including microelectronics and software engineering, media reports said.

To better integrate training with industrial application, the school will invite experts from the business community to give lectures.

The establishment of the school is an essential step in strengthening the self-development ability of China's semiconductor industry, but there are still challenges.

"Gaps are still there, in the abilities of the teachers, the content of the textbooks and the overall curriculum arrangements of the sector - not to mention that the whole industry lags several years behind the West," said Ren.

But the situation is promising, Ren said, and more schools of this type are likely to be established as China goes full speed ahead in its industrial upgrade.