New chair for Compound Semiconductor Catapult announced

Kevin Crofton, a prolific businessman from California, has been announced as the chair of the UK Government’s £50 million Compound Semiconductor Application Catapult.

The organisation was set up to accelerate the use and development of semiconductor devices in the industry by bringing together cutting-edge companies based along the M4.

It’ll work closely with the Compound Semiconductor Centre, which is a joint venture between Cardiff University and water company IQE, to pioneer compound semiconductors.

Crofton has been working in the lucrative semiconductor industry for 25 years, and has executive level experience in both the US and UK. He’s currently president of SPTS Technologies in Newport.

Compound semiconductors are at the heart of many of the technologies we use on a daily basis, including smartphones, tablets and satellite communication systems.

Experts also say they’re crucial in the development of new technologies such as 5G and 6G networks, high-efficiency lighting and new imaging techniques in diagnostics.

It’s believed that the industry will reach between £75bn and £125bn by 2025. The Capapult, launched in 2016, will create a cluster of semiconductor firms in South Wales and the West.

Dr Wyn Meredith, director of compound semiconductor centre, said: “Kevin Crofton’s appointment is very timely. He brings a wealth of commercial development experience to the Catapult.

“This is just as we are beginning to see the early formation of a cluster of companies that will exploit CS applications with the power to drive the development of 21st century technologies.

Kevin Crofton, who will lead the organisation, said: “I look forward to helping to guide the Catapult’s vital contribution to the compound semiconductor industry in the UK.

“We expect the Catapult to bridge some of the primary research, development and test challenges that exist in the UK compound semiconductor sector. This should help to accelerate innovation among existing businesses.”

The Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult is an important stepping stone in creating the word’s first compound semiconductor cluster, and it’ll recognise the expertise around the M4 corridor.

Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales, said: “Much of the advance technology powering our mobile phones and other devices is being pioneered right here in Wales.

“The new research centre will underline our reputation as a world leader in semiconductors and, with Kevin Crofton at the head, put us in the front row of digital development.”

Wales’ Minister for Skills and Science Julie James added: “Science underpins innovation and technological developments and is essential for economic growth and creating high quality jobs in Wales.”