European Commission approves €1.75 billion semiconductor research plan for Wales

The European Commission has approved a plan that’ll unlock €1.75 billion of research funding and €6 billion of private investment for Wales’ semiconductor industry.

It’s the first such programme to be approved by the Commission, which not only highlights the importance of compound semiconductors but solidifies Wales as a market leader.

Over the coming years, the Welsh Government will work with industry partners to establish South East Wales as a leading centre for compound semiconductor expertise. They include the likes of IQE, Newport Wafer Fab and SPTS Technologies.

Economy Minister Ken Skates said: “Wales’ semiconductor cluster and its contribution to many of the technologies that are so prevalent in our modern everyday lives is a real source of pride, and I am delighted Wales has taken the lead on behalf of the UK in co-ordinating this project that will drive vital research and accelerate innovation work across  Europe.

“The EU’s decision to approve the plan is huge news for the sector and of course for Wales’  wider economy, paving the way for up to £6 billion of private investment throughout Europe and enabling our own semiconductor companies to work alongside international giants in their field.

“We look forward to working closely with our European partners and IQE, Newport Wafer Fab and SPTS on this exciting work and will do all we can to deliver the very best outcome for Wales.”

With the emergence of powerful technologies such as the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, it’s believed that compound semiconductors will continue to rise in dominance.  South Wales’ semiconductor cluster, branded as CSconnected, is already regarded as a hotspot for this technology.

Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, in charge of digital economy and society, said: “Every connected device, every modern machine, all our digital services depend on microelectronic components that become smaller and faster with time.

“If we don’t want to depend on others for such essential technology, for example for security or performance reasons, we have to be able to design and produce them ourselves. The  decision to approve the project  is a result of enhanced cooperation and shared European vision.”