Chip designer Cadence Design Systems is celebrating the tenth anniversary of its global University Academic programme with the University of Bristol as one of the first key partners.

We work with the lead institutions to be fully up to speed with the latest technologies


The programme grew out of a European scheme and now shares the expertise of European universities with those in the US and Asia.

“Ten years ago we decided that we wanted to change and enhance the way we worked with universities in Europe,” says Patrick Haspel, Head of Global Academic Partnerships and University Programs at Cadence since it started.

“We had a university software programme through Europractice which was making the technology available and as a university researcher I knew what it really takes to tape-out a chip and how difficult that it can be for an academic user, so we built the Cadence Academic Network,” he adds. Europractice supplies tools to 200 universities across Europe, with 85% of them using Cadence tools to design a wide range of chips.

Advanced verification tech

The first lead institutions were Heidelberg and Freiburg, starting close to the Cadence European HQ in Munich and after the first year had a full European operation including Russia. The University of Bristol is the lead institution for advanced verification technology, with Prof Kerstin Eder sharing her expertise with universities in the US and Asia.

“We see these lead institutions as the way to support universities with additional material that they cannot get from an EDA vendor,” said Haspel. “We work with the lead institutions to be fully up to speed with the latest technologies and ask them to work with other universities on how to integrate EDA technologies, so Europe is far ahead of the rest of the world. We started 2.5 years ago in the US with the same approach. The academic system is a little different in the US but the concept of having a close collaboration is working in the same way,” he said.

“Kerstin’s lecture material is being used in Heidelberg and Mannheim and now being adopted in the US so this is a good example of how things work.”

“In the next ten years I think we should have a really mature network like we have in Europe in other regions. As they are based on personal experiences and trust of the academics that takes time. We have really started to build trust in the US with Texas A&M, MIT and Berkeley, but we are not at the same level of maturity that we have in Europe,” he said. “If we can claim the same level of success globally with China and Taiwan in the next ten years I would be really glad.”

There’s more detail on the Cadence Design System academic network site