MEMS Commercialization Report Card, Episode 4: Industry Associations

Roger H. Grace, Guest Contributor

In this fourth episode of the 2013 MEMS Commercialization Report Card, we look into an important topic that continues to have significant influence on the commercialization of MEMS: Industry Associations. This topic is tightly coupled to the next episode's topics of Standards and Roadmaps since it typically is the Industry Associations that are the catalysts of these activities.

I've interviewed the leaders of several key industry associations to create the information presented here and segmented these associations into the following categories:

  • Pure play MEMS /microsystems associations e.g. MANCEF, MIG, IVAM, EPoSS/EXPRESS
  • Specific focus MEMS/Microsystems associations e.g. MEMUNITY
  • Industry associations that contribute to the MEMS/Microsystems activities e.g. SEMI, SMTA, MEPTEC

Grade Analysis

2013 Grade = B+, 2012 Grade = B+, Change = 0, S.D. = 1.6 (based on 85 respondent inputs)


Fig. 1: Industry associations that support the MEMS community have received above average grades since its initial tracking in 2001, never falling below a "B" and with a Standard Deviation of 1.6 throughout its history.  The grades for the last three years has been a very respectful "B+".
Fig. 1: Industry associations that support the MEMS community have received above average grades since its initial tracking in 2001, never falling below a "B" and with a Standard Deviation of 1.6 throughout its history. The grades for the last three years has been a very respectful "B+".


Several organizations are currently involved in the support of the MEMS community. These include the MEMS Industry Group (MIG), IVAM, EPoSS, MEMUNITY, and the Micro and Nanotechnology Commercialization Education Foundation (MANCEF). Several other organizations also support MEMS as part of a broader portfolio including MEPTEC, iNemi, SEMI, and the Nano-Bio Manufacturing Consortium (NBMC).


The MEMS Industry Group (MIG) headquartered in Pittsburgh was founded in 2001 and is a not-for profit organization with approximately 170 organizational members. To quote Ms. Karen Lightman, MIG's Managing Director, "MIG is different because we represent the entire MEMS (and now sensors) ecosystem/supply chain, with our main mission to advance the commercialization of MEMS/sensors. We are the only group in the world that does that."

In my opinion and the opinion of the majority of the respondents to the study, MIG has done an excellent job in developing its MIG Executive Congress (MIG EC) program. In its tenth year, the MIG EC is what I call the "Davos of the MEMS Community" and it serves as the meeting place of the movers and shakers of the international MEMS community. Its two-day conference hosts many panel discussions and presentations addressing a broad spectrum of MEMS commercialization issues including market research and applications.

The organization that ultimately became the Micro and Nano Technology Commercialization Education Foundation (MANCEF) was initiated by global leaders in the small tech community in the early 1990's. The organization was created to accelerate the commercialization of micro/nano technologies by connecting researchers, suppliers, funders, and policy makers. MANCEF was the first international organization to bring together the various players and help fill this gap via the annual Commercialization of Micro and Nanotechnology (COMS) series of conferences. MANCEF has held COMS in all regions of the world and has helped many small firms achieve their funding goals. They have also assisted centers of excellence and large firms around the world.

Established in 1995, IVAM of Dortmund Germany was the first pure play MEMS industry association. With a current membership of 221, IVAM represents a range of MEMS and Microsystems organizations including research labs and commercial organizations. It is involved in exhibiting at technical trade events, conducting focus groups, and publishing its InSide IVAM member's magazine. IVAM's future plans are to identify promising international markets for micro- and nanotechnology and commercialization opportunities and to assist its members in gaining a foothold in these markets.

The European Program on Smart Systems Integration (EPoSS) was launched in 2006 and transformed into a formal association according to German law in 2013. Its 50 organization membership represents 15 European countries. EPoSS brings together European private and public stakeholders in order to create an enduring basis for structuring initiatives, coordinate and bundle efforts, and setting-up sustainable structures of a European Research Area on Smart Systems Integration. EPoSS embraces all key players, public and private, in the value chain so as to:

  1. Provide a common European approach on Innovative Smart Systems Integration from research to production outlining the key issues for a strategic European innovation process
  2. Define priorities for common research and innovation in the future
  3. Formulate commonly agreed road maps for action (updating, assembling and completing existing material and approaches) and provide a strategic R&D agenda
  4. Mobilize public and private human, infrastructural and financial resources

EPoSS/EXPRESS holds meetings twice annually in Europe.

The Microelectronics Packaging and Test Engineering Council (MEPTEC) was founded in1978 and includes approximately 300 members representing semiconductor suppliers and manufacturers dedicated to enhancing and advancing competitiveness of packaging, assembly and test providers. Through their membership of subcontractors, semiconductor manufacturers and suppliers it constantly strives to improve and elevate the roles of assembly and test professionals in the industry.

The Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) organization, headquartered in San Jose California, supported the MEMS community for well over a decade. From financially supporting the MANCEF authored MEMS Commercialization Roadmap approximately 15 years ago to organizing and developing MEMS sessions at its many regional SEMICONS, it has heightened awareness in the semiconductor community to its younger brother: MEMS. SEMI has also been a major player in attempting to create standards for MEMS, much in the same way it has successfully done so for semiconductors.

MEMUNITY was created as an open community and industry forum of organizations to facilitate the sharing of information and the education of the MEMS community in the complete solution of MEMS wafer level testing and metrology using non-electric stimulation and detection methods. Founded in 2003, MEMUNITY conducts workshops and seminars, mostly in Europe at events including SEMICON Europa and the Smart Systems Integration Conference.


  • The most prevalent industry association is the MEMS industry group. MIG has done a fantastic job growing and continuing to serve the industry. There are still things MIG can improve to help better serve the industry, and they likely will.
  • Trillion Sensor Roadmap and its linkage to other industry efforts should be making a difference.
  • MIG has really established itself. Now T-Sensors becoming a virtual complementary association.
  • The role of these associations might be less important now. Especially since they fail to attract end user participants.
  • We have good events to network within the MEMS community, but we have yet to find a voice to reach outside the industry.
  • MIG doing a good job but room for improvement.
  • MIG has raised the awareness of MEMS more than anyone else. They bring people together to drive the needs for better standards, learning sessions and discussions concerning MEMS.
  • MIG is very good but doesn't include users


This Report Card topic has received above average grades since the start of its tracking in 2001 and never falling below a B grade. It has garnered a very respectable grade of B+ for the last three years and has demonstrated a standard deviation over the 2001 to 2013 time frame of 1.6.

Industry organizations played a significant role in the commercialization of MEMS starting in the early-to-mid 1990's. Several of them support the commercialization of MEMS, especially through their creation and development of MEMS-based conferences/workshops or MEMS-based sessions within conferences. Additionally, these organizations have been the catalysts of the creation of standards and roadmaps.

MIG has done an excellent job in the evangelization of MEMS and has received the largest number of mentions in the verbatim comments with 31. Interestingly, the Trillion Sensor Initiative that started two years ago garnered 14 mentions. MANCEF had five, IEEE had three, and MEPTEC 2.

It is quite evident that MIG is the dominant player in this area and has made significant contributions to the commercialization of MEMS vis-à-vis its broad international conference development activities. However, many of the respondents feel that MIG needs to have a more balanced group of members that truly represent the MEMS industry, especially users.

About the Author
Roger H. Grace is president of Roger Grace Associates (Naples, FL) which he founded in 1982 as a marketing consultancy serving the sensor, MEMS, IC and capital equipment markets. He holds the B.S.E.E. and M.S.E.E. (as a Raytheon Company Fellow) degrees from Northeastern University where he was awarded the Engineering Alumni of the Year Award in 2004. He was a visiting lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley College of Engineering from 1990 to 2004. He can be contacted via email at [email protected].

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The 2013 MEMS Industry Commercialization Report Card: Barriers to the Successful Commercialization of MEMS

MEMS Commercialization Report Card Research Project, Part Two

MEMS Commercialization Report Card, Episode 3: Technology Clusters


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