Sainsbury promotes Swiss role

MICROSYSTEMS technology is poised to radically alter world manufacturing processes, and the UK must take a lead from sector-leader Switzerland, science minister Lord Sainsbury warned top industrialists this week.

Microsystems – the assembly of components on a sub-millimetric level – are pivotal in Switzerland’s new technology driven economy.

Speaking at the DTI-backed Swiss Microsystems Forum, Sainsbury said: `Some consider microsystems to be a disruptive technology which could alter the dynamics of market sectors. But if we are not represented, we risk damaging our industries.’

Global demand for microsystems is projected to explode from $13bn (£8.18bn) in 1996 to just under $40bn by 2002.

Western Switzerland is a sector hub for designers, industrialists and researchers. Sainsbury said the UK could learn from the Swiss creation of expertise centres, and that the skills and costs needed to develop microsystems made international cooperation essential.