Industry-Academia Partnership to Explore Possibilities in Flexible Electronics

Bangalore, March 22, 2016 – At the IESA CXO Conclave held in Bangalore today, Applied Materials, Inc. and IIT Kanpur announced plans for R&D collaboration in the area of flexible electronics. Applied Materials is now a member of the IIT Kanpur National Center for Flexible Electronics, and will explore R&D and commercialization opportunities in large-area flexible electronics.

Flexible electronics is a rapidly emerging segment that is expected to gather pace in the next several years. Driving this growth will be advanced form-factor electronic devices with broad applications in various sectors, including military & defence, consumer electronics, healthcare & medical, and energy & power generation.


The National Centre for Flexible Electronics (NCFlexE) was established as a joint initiative of the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), Government of India and IIT Kanpur. The goal of this center is to address the country’s opportunity in the new market of large-area flexible electronics and catalyze the ecosystem for manufacturing in India. The center is currently seeking national and international collaborators interested in the use or manufacturing of microelectronic devices and those industries engaged in making printed products, chemical synthesis or equipment manufacturing. (For details visit:

Industry-academia partnerships go a long way in building the right ecosystem for new markets. An example of a successful engagement that has transformed the traditional role of corporate involvement in university research is the strategic partnership between Applied Materials and IIT Bombay, which recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary. The partnership led to the creation of India’s first university–based 200mm semiconductor fabrication facility used today by 144 research institutions across India for nano-electronics research. Applied Materials has invested more than $12 million USD over the years in its engagement with IIT Bombay.

As mentioned by Dr. Om Nalamasu, senior vice president and CTO of Applied Materials, during his keynote, “As technologies become more complex, it is imperative for high-tech companies to increase their focus on innovation to achieve a competitive advantage. At Applied we believe that industry-academia collaborations are a key part of the open innovation required to advance new and disruptive technologies. The synergy between Applied and IIT Kanpur will help pave the way for technological innovation that will eventually benefit the whole electronics ecosystem.”

According to Prof. Deepak Gupta, Professor, IIT Kanpur, “Due to the increasing demand for consumer electronics goods, there will be further growth and more investment in flexible electronics manufacturing worldwide. This segment is ready for academia-industry-government collaboration to usher in flexible electronics manufacturing in India. We are happy to partner with Applied Materials, which has many success stories of academic collaborations to its credit. We would also like to see other companies across the entire value chain from materials and equipment suppliers to product manufacturers coming forward to explore the potential of the NCFlexE center, for the growth of the local electronics ecosystem.”

“At the onset I congratulate Applied Materials and IIT Kanpur for collaborating in the field of flexible electronics, a segment which is fast growing in the Electronics Manufacturing Industry. Flexible electronics, an advanced form of electronics, has just started penetrating the consumer products market in the form of e-books, signage, smartphones, and e-paper applications, and is also being deployed in military applications and the overall market is expected to gain momentum by 2017. The consumer electronics market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 44.30% and this growth is heralded by consumer electronics components, namely, flexible displays and flexible sensors and batteries” said Mr. MN Vidyashankar, President, IESA.

He further added, “The opportunities for flexible electronics are immense including high-profit manufacturing, job creation and low-cost manufacturing of electronics. With the advent of this new generation of electronics, we see more opportunities of global partnership as well as “Make in India” a seamless possibility.”

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