13 Aug 2018

Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult ready for business

It has been announced that Wales’ first Catapult, the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult, will open its South East Wales-based Innovation Centre in early 2019.

The announcement made by Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns, also confirmed that the UK’s newest Catapult will receive £51 million of grant funding from the £780m investment in the internationally renowned Catapult network announced by the Chancellor Philip Hammond today as part of the Government’s industrial strategy. This builds on the £180m announced by the Prime Minister last month for centres in the North East last month, taking the total of additional funding to almost £1 billion.

The Catapult has already employed 23 people and is set to create around 100 new jobs internally. By 2023 it aims to have helped create 1,000 new high-tech jobs within the businesses it has supported around the whole of the UK.

With analysts predicting that the world market for compound semiconductors will increase from $66 billion today to over $300 billion by 20301, it is essential that the UK plays a substantial part in that growth and the Catapult is here to help make that happen.

Secretary of State for Wales 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.”

Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult CEO, Stephen Doran said: “Our Catapult is a UK-wide centre, based in Wales. With immediate effect, this grant funding will allow the Catapult to 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.”

The Catapult Innovation Centre will house a design studio, laboratories and test facilities, supported by simulation and modelling tools and advanced capabilities. It will help companies to accelerate the development of new products using compound semiconductors.

The Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult has also set out its strategy with the publication of its Launching the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult brochure which was developed in collaboration and with input from over 150 companies in the sector.

The strategy focuses around three areas:

  • The Catapult’s new facility, an impressive Innovation Centre.

  • Designing and manufacturing a series of Evaluation Modules to help companies prototype systems.

  • Running a series of Challenge Programmes to identify how best compound semiconductors can address global challenges.

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. We are open for business and looking for great people to help us make these innovations happen.”

The Catapult is actively looking to fill positions across all levels of the organisation and in particular its three technology areas: Power Electronics, Photonics and Microwave and RF. Working with the Catapult can provide the opportunity to contribute and shape a business in its early stages with the stability of secured funding within which to operate. The Catapult has a collaborative, supportive and inclusive culture which will be reflected in its Innovation Centre where agile workspaces and settings for different types of working behaviour are part of its DNA. The Catapult has the benefit of a fast-moving entrepreneurial culture and a strong financial footing.

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