A SUCCESS STORY OF A 1.5 DECADE IN MACAO MICROELECTRONICS EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY
Faculty of Science and Technology from the University of Macau (UM) and its Electrical and Electronics Engineering 4-year bachelor program were created in 1989. And, in a city where the traditional economic activity is the gaming industry it was extremely difficult to attract students for engineering fields. From the Microelectronics point-of-view Macao could be considered as a Desert, where the small local industry and the teaching concepts of Electronics at the University were completely outdated (with no research). Then, a strategy was defined to jump directly to state-of-the-art teaching and research by laying out the conditions for creation of EEE post-graduation, as well as setting-up rules for adequate investment in research. This objective originated the launching of Master and PhD programs in mid-90’s and also of a small research project involving the first 10 Master students that designed the first ASIC in Macao, designated as UMCHIP [1994 – CMOS 1.2µm]. From here the situation has evolved in the last decade to consistent production of significant research results with world-class standards that can briefly be described by the first 8 PhDs recently concluded (with a 9th on the way) with the publication of more than 100 papers in leading IEEE conferences, as well as, IEEE and IEE archival journals. Also, it would be significant to refer the results achieved by final year project undergraduate students, like: 2 IEEE Scholarships, besides“Best Student Paper” awards by graduate students in IEEE conferences.
Considering the quality and reliability demonstrated by UM graduates a world-leading microelectronics company – Chipidea (now designated MIPS / Technologies Analog Business Group) - decided in 2001 to create a “spin-off” local design center through a collaboration protocol with the university. Its operation, unique in South-China, has been a success and it currently employs close to 40 engineers or masters led by an Associate Professor, with the PhD, all from UM.
It is also worth to emphasize as great achievements a publication in ISSCC’2002 (USA) (only achieved in China by then, and in 50 years of the conference, also by HKUST), together with 2 Books based in the PhD Thesis, one by Springer (2005) and another by Science Press / China (2007). Finally, the recent creation of 2 research labs for Wireless Communications (2001-04) and, in particular, of the ANALOG AND MIXED-SIGNAL VLSI LAB  has already led to paper awards in DAC/ISSCC Student Design Contest (first time in Asia) in ISCAS and PRIME conferences, and to a 3rd Book by Springer (2007), with a 4th in preparation, based in other 2 PhD theses. Besides that, the conceptual design, with simulation, subsequent fabrication (by world-leading foundries) and testing of several chips in advanced sub-micron CMOS technologies, with 2 chips in 0.35µm [2002 and 2006], 1 chip in 0.18µm  and 3 chips in 90nm , is also boosting the quantity and quality of the research results to a higher level of international exposure. For example, the first US patent application of UM was recently filed in Microelectronics, and 5 others are currently under processing, thus opening the door for Excellence in this area.