Semiconductor innovation centre to open in Wales next year

An innovation centre for semiconductor research and development will open in South East Wales at the start of next year.

On Friday, Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns confirmed that the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult will be launching its first facility in 2019.

The UK Government is investing £51 million into the operation. It’s part of the £780 million Catapult network, which is aimed at accelerating innovation and future economic growth across the country.

Currently, the organisation employs 23 people but will hire another 100 people over the next few years. And by 2023, it wants to help create 1,000 high-tech jobs in the UK.

Analysts are expecting the global semiconductors industry to increase from $66 billion to more than $300 billion by 2030. This market will underpin emerging technologies such as 5G and the Internet of Things.

Speaking about the initiative, Alun Cairns said: “This investment in the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult cements Wales’ reputation as a leader in advanced electronics.

“Bringing together academics and businesses to develop new technologies will support areas of our daily lives from the next generation 5G mobile network to improving scanning at airport security.

“Our investment in this technology will help Welsh businesses exploit a hugely lucrative global market and ensure that Wales continues to lead the world in science and innovation, creating vital new jobs along the way.”

Stephen Doran, CEO of Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult, said the facility will create a critical mass of industry-leading expertise at the heart of the world’s first compound semiconductor cluster in South Wales.

“The transformative potential for compound semiconductors to meet the challenges of the future has never been higher, and our new Innovation Centre will make sure that Wales is at the forefront of this revolution,” he said.

The Catapult Innovation Centre will offer a design studio, laboratories, test facilities, simulation and modelling tools, and advanced capabilities. Researchers will work with companies to develop  new products using compound semiconductors.

Doran added: “So far, we have had contact with more than 150 businesses from around the UK and that has allowed us to develop an in-depth understanding of the compound semiconductor market and create a strategy that will help us to support and collaborate with industry.”