The Institute for Applied Microelectronics finds its predecessor in the Laboratory for Applied Microelectronics Research, which was founded in 1988, having received European funding on its incorporation into the group of laboratories pioneering the Eurochip Program. It also received funding from the European project PATMOS and national funding from the Special Action in Microelectronics of the National Microelectronics Program to aid Microelectronics laboratories throughout Spain. This laboratory is an associated unit to the ETSIT. On 20th July 1990, the Centre for Applied Microelectronics (CMA) was opened by the Rector of the University and the General Director for Universities of the Canary Government. Its installations were situated in Block A of the Electronics and Telecommunications Building. The Centre is still attached to the ETSIT.
In 1990, the project for the Institute for Applied Microelectronics Research was developed and was undertaken by the Vice-Rectorate for Research. Along with four other university projects it was presented to the Canary Government to be financed by the REGIS Community Program within the Canary Island Operational Program from 1991-1993. In July 1991, the European Community approved the proposal made by the Canary Government and which was presented by the Central Government leading to the financing of the Canary Technological Institute (ITC), which would incorporate the different technological institutes proposed by both the universities in the Canary Islands. The Canary Government decided that the ITC, with different objectives to the institutes proposed, should not be part of either university, but should instead depend on the Department of Industry and Commerce of the regional government.
In June 1993, the CMA was given its Provisional Rules of Procedure and its Director, Chief of Services, Secretary and Heads of Department were elected. The CMA then became provisionally dependent on the Vice-Rectorate for Research, as a General Research Service within the University and as such, received financial aid. On 14th December 1994 the Board of Governors approved the Framework Regulation for the General Research Services within the University and encouraged the Regulation of Services. On 10th October 1995, the CMA drew up the Requirements Program for Specific Infrastructure in order to designate areas of the IUPI (Multipurpose University Research Installations) Building, which was constructed between 1997 y 1998 in the Tafira Campus. On 29th February 1996, the Board of Governors approved the regulations of the Centre for Applied Microelectronics. On the same day, the Board of Governors approved the Regulation Framework for the creation of its first University Research Institutes. On 30th January 1998, the Board of Governors approved the creation of the IUMA, and this was seconded by the Social Council in February and later by the University Council on 15th July 1998.
The IUMA is currently made up of 35 researchers, 3 research fellows, 3 laboratory technicians and 6 collaborators. Among these, 17 are Senior Researchers and Doctors (2 University Professors and 15 Associate Professors). A total of 23 IUMA doctorates are inscribed in the doctorate programs of the Electronic and Automatic Engineering, Telematics, Computer Science and Mathematics departments. Since its establishment, eleven doctoral theses have been completed in the laboratory of the former CMA.
In this period of time, the IUMA has published over one hundred scientific articles and more than eighty of these are international publications. It leads two European research networks and has obtained numerous research projects and contracts with industrial firms. Among its most significant technical achievements are the production of 20 complex integrated circuits, including microprocessors, signal processors and memories, 12 industrial electronic systems and numerous software products which are currently being used by firms specialized in telecommunications, telecontrol and computer systems. In fact, the IUMA has collaborated in setting up several industrial firms within this sector in the Canary Islands.
The IUMA provides research and development services to other research groups and companies. None of this work would be possible without the great number of human resources generated by the Engineering degrees established in the Tafira Campus of the ULPGC, which represents an important asset for the Canary Island society and an asset that the new Institute is now promoting and complementing.
In this context, we can confirm that research in Microelectronics in the Canary Islands – as in other research areas – is highly recognized both nationally and internationally. Nowadays, electronics has become microelectronics, devices are measured in microns, circuits have become microcircuits (chips) and equipment and systems are assembled on cards with extremely compact components. Microelectronic design is capable of integrating millions of devices, hundreds of thousands of circuits, onto monolithic glass. Equipment used to aid design ranges from the microscope to enormous work stations that allow each device to be drawn up and recorded, individually or repeated in groups, with a resolution reaching dimensions of tenths of a micron. At present, these circuits are planned, calculated, designed, tested and assembled in the Canary Islands. Not only the University, but numerous industrial companies have, to varying degrees, certain abilities in this field. The products manufactured range from complex microprocessor chips and microcontrollers compatible with well-known commercial brands to custom-made designs for applications required by companies in mainland Spain or in the Canary Islands. These facts lead us to a clear conclusion: certain sectors of state-of-the-art technology based on microelectronics and their applications in telecommunication, control, instrumentation and computing products, functionally integrated with the necessary software, are accessible for industry in the Canary Islands, under conditions that also allow their exportation. This progress requires us to maintain and increase the teaching level of Engineering at our universities and to transform these educational levels into research levels. Over the years, the Institute has shown that it is truly committed to carrying out intense research work.