£38 million compound semiconductor cluster planned for South East Wales

Plans are underway to solidify the development of a pioneering compound semiconductor industry cluster in south East Wales – set to be worth a staggering £38 million.

In May, an agreement was made by the Cardiff Capital Region Regional Cabinet to contribute £37.9 million from the CCR City Deal’s Wider Investment Fund towards this effort.

The funding will be used to establish a major, cutting edge facility as an anchor in the region for high-end production of industry-leading compound semiconductors.

This cluster could lever £375m of private sector investment; create up to 2,000 high skilled jobs; return the investment for use on other regional schemes; and create hundreds more opportunities in the wider supply chain cluster.

It’s the first major investment since the £1.2 billion CCR City Deal programme was formally signed by the leaders of the ten local authorities in the region on March 1st.

Set to be built in Newport, the facility will be owned by the ten councils in the Regional Cabinet under the special purpose vehicle CSC Foundry Limited/LDC Ffowndri.

To confirm the project, an official signing ceremony has been held at IQE’s headquarters in Cardiff led by the Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns MP, and industry executives.

Councillor Peter Fox, leader of Monmouthshire County Council, said: “The objective of this commitment is to create a complete compound semiconductor eco-system in South Wales to take advantage of the growing prominence of compound semiconductor technologies.

“The opportunity this investment creates, to help the establishment of the world’s first compound semiconductor cluster in South East Wales, should not be underestimated

“It has the potential to place our region at the heart of this cutting edge sector and will require the development and integration of a compound semiconductor supply chain in South Wales, with the economic and social benefits that will bring.

Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said: “Compound semiconductors are at the heart of many devices we use today, from smartphones to tablets and satellite communication systems.

“It is an area of UK strength and today’s confirmation of the development of a cluster of excellence in Wales reinforces our own strong position in the growth of this important and growing technology.

“Of course, government does not create innovation, but it can be a catalyst to getting the scientists and engineers, the designers and the entrepreneurs together to make it happen.

“This collaboration is important because innovation is a shared endeavour and I look forward to seeing the cluster take shape and create a lasting engineering and manufacturing legacy in Wales.”

Dr Drew Nelson, chief executive of IQE plc, added: “Compound semiconductors are rapidly defining 21st century technologies and Wales is uniquely positioned to be centre stage of this global, high-tech industry sector.

“This dedicated compound semiconductor facility between Cardiff and Newport will act as a key component of the burgeoning cluster that is already cementing Wales reputation for technology leadership.”