South Wales Semiconductor Cluster Sets Sights on Global Role

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Vision and commitment, fresh investment, world-beating science – these key ingredients are enabling CSconnected, the world’s first compound semiconductor (CS) ‘cluster’, to take root and thrive in South Wales. EPSRC and other parts of UKRI are making a crucial contribution to a fast-moving success story that’s already boosting growth, jobs and regional confidence.

As South Wales seeks to re-establish itself as a vibrant, dynamic manufacturing economy, the emergence there of a world-class cluster of CS capabilities is already delivering big benefits that represent just a fraction of the long-term potential. Bringing together leading-edge university researchers, high-tech companies and future-focused businesses, and generating jobs, growth, pride and confidence that can help propel South Wales into a more prosperous future, CSconnected spans and links the entire innovation chain – from blue skies research to market-ready products with real-world applications in fields as diverse as healthcare, digital communications, energy, clean transport and counter-terrorism.

Alongside a range of government, public and private sector organisations, EPSRC and other UKRI bodies are playing a pivotal, multi-faceted role in this ground-breaking initiative. To bridge the gap between academia and industry, EPSRC support has:

  • enabled establishment of a Future CS Manufacturing Hub in Cardiff as a key asset for the region, Wales and the UK as a whole
  • set up a Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in CS Manufacturing to produce experts with the skills critical to maximising the ability of the cluster and the UK to capture global market share
  • funded acquisition of essential underpinning industrial-grade equipment such as a new CS growth reactor at Swansea University.

EPSRC is also supporting fundamental research in a range of application areas. By relentlessly feeding the innovation pipeline, this work will enable CSconnected to maintain and sharpen its competitive edge in this rapidly growing field, and to build on its status as the world’s very first CS cluster. Delivering direct turnover of £464 million in the region in 2019, CSconnected gained further momentum in June 2020 with the announcement that it would receive £25.44 million in support from UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund as part of a major £43.74 million project.

Professor Paul Meredith who is leading semiconductor efforts at Swansea University said: “EPSRC support is a critical component in maximising the cluster’s credibility, performance and prospects and in cementing the status of South Wales as a go-to location for CS and semiconductor innovation more broadly. The half-billion-pound turnover already achieved by the cluster really is just the beginning.”

Image credit: CSConnected