Ambitious plans for the world’s first Compound Semiconductor Cluster awarded seed funding

22nd March 2019

Cardiff, UK, 22 March 2019. CSconnected is one of 24 projects, the only one based in Wales, to receive early-stage funding from UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Strength in Places Fund to develop full-stage bids that could lead to significant economic growth in locations across the country.

Wales has a wealth of advanced semiconductor expertise in the form of IQE, SPTS Technologies, Newport Wafer Fab and Microsemi, who, along with academic partners and the UK Government’s £50million compound semiconductor applications Catapult, form the world’s first Compound Semiconductor cluster, CSconnected.

The CSconnected cluster is the only concentration of compound semiconductor material expertise and large-scale semiconductor wafer scale volume manufacturing globally that has the scale, expertise and the IP to order to deliver a major UK supply chain advantage. In addition, alignment of world-class academic research, and core supply elements such as capital equipment and device packaging will accelerate and embed our unique capabilities for enabling emerging technologies.

Compound semiconductors are driving future technologies, from the Internet of Things to robotics, from autonomous vehicles to healthcare technologies, compound semiconductors are and will continue to impact the way we live, work and spend our leisure time.

Each of the shortlisted projects from the first wave of UK Research and Innovation’s Strength in Places Fund has been awarded up to £50k in early-stage funding, which will allow applicants to develop full-stage bids. Teams behind these projects will then submit these bids to UK Research and Innovation in late 2019, with four to eight of the strongest set to receive between £10m and £50m each to carry out projects designed to drive substantial economic growth.

Announced in the modern Industrial Strategy in November 2017, the Strength in Places Fund will benefit all nations and regions of the UK by enabling them to tap into the world-class research and innovation capability that is spread right across the country. The fund brings together research organisations, businesses, and local leadership on projects that will lead to significant economic impact, high-value job creation and regional growth.

About UK Research and Innovation

UK Research and Innovation is a new body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. We aim to maximise the contribution of each of our component parts, working individually and collectively. We work with our many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas.

Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £7 billion, UK Research and Innovation brings together the Arts and Humanities Research Council; Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; Economic and Social Research Council; Innovate UK; Medical Research Council; Natural Environment Research Council; Research England; and Science and Technology Facilities Council.

About CSconnected

CS connected represents organisations who are directly associated with research, development, innovation and manufacturing of compound semiconductor related technologies as well as organisations along the supply chains whose products and services are enabled by compound semiconductors.

The UK, and in particular, Wales, is home to a growing number of organisations and businesses that are active in this increasingly important industry sector.

In 2015, Cardiff University announced an investment of around £75M in the Institute for Compound Semiconductors as part of its new £300M Innovation Campus. The announcement for the Institute was quickly followed by the creation of a £24M joint venture between IQE plc and Cardiff University to form the Compound Semiconductor Centre (CSC) for the development and prototyping of compound semiconductor materials. Hot on the heels of the launch of the CSC, came the announcement that the UK Government was to invest £50M in the first Catapult Centre in Wales that would be dedicated to the development of compound semiconductor applications.

In 2016, EPSRC announced a £10M investment in a Compound Semiconductor Hub, based at Cardiff University.

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