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Deal signed to create centre for compound semiconductor excellence

14 July 2015

Diana Huffaker
Leading light: Professor Diana Huffaker has been appointed Chair in Advanced Engineering and Materials through the Welsh Government's £50m Sêr Cymru programme. Professor Huffaker, based at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), will lead a new CS research laboratory at Cardiff University.

Cardiff University has signed a deal with world-leading semiconductor wafer company IQE to establish a centre for compound semiconductor (CS) excellence in Wales

The partners have formed a new joint venture company with the power to turn the city into a global hub for CS research.

The for-profit venture – the first of its kind in the UK - will seek to develop a cluster of expertise in the development and commercialisation of CS technologies.

The foundation will drive the testing and development of technology that lies behind global 'megatrends' including smart phones and tablets, powering change across sectors including healthcare, biotechnology and mass communications.

Cardiff University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Colin Riordan, said: "The University's mission is to be consistently among the top 100 universities in the world and the top 20 in the UK. Fundamental research is essential for sustaining academic growth, and for improving the health, wealth and well-being of society. Coupling IQE's infrastructure with Cardiff's existing strengths in expanding areas of semiconductor devices and materials will create cutting-edge opportunities that will put us ahead of our competitors."

Dr Drew Nelson, Chief Executive of IQE, said: "This JV with Cardiff University is a key step in creating the World's first Compound Semiconductor Cluster, spanning the complete Technology Readiness Level (TRL) scale from basic research to full scale production. Our goal is to build this Cluster into one of Global significance and scale, leading to widespread economic benefits for the region, and providing a broad range of CS Technologies to support the rapid growth of the Key Enabling Technologies agendas, in Europe and throughout the rest of the World. IQE look forward to working closely with ICS and the JV to commercialise these exciting new technologies."

Minister for Economy and Science, Edwina Hart said: "This new company will help create commercial opportunities from the excellent compound semiconductor research work going on at Cardiff University. Together with the appointment through our Sêr Cymru programme of Professor Diana Huffaker, a world renowned expert in the field, Cardiff is now well placed to become a hub for Compound Semiconductor research and exploitation."

The deal will capitalise on two recent announcements that have strengthened Cardiff's position as a global centre for CS research. In March, UK Government announced a £17.3m award to underpin the Compound Semiconductor Research Foundation - the first of its kind in the UK. And in May, Cardiff announced the appointment of Professor Diana Huffaker as Chair in Advanced Engineering and Materials through the Welsh Government's £50m Sêr Cymru programme. Professor Huffaker, based at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), will lead a new CS research laboratory at Cardiff University.

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