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Students join hub for CS excellence

15 October 2019

Cohort one of EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT)

A hub that will train tomorrow’s experts in Compound Semiconductor (CS) technologies has opened at Cardiff University.

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) will equip future scientists and engineers with the skills and knowledge needed to lead research and manufacturing in UK CS industries.

The CDT will fund 64 students over five intakes to December 2027 thanks to a total award valued at £6.6m from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Cardiff University is at the heart of CSConnected – a globally-connected cluster of CS industrial, academic and government partners based in South Wales.

Compound Semiconductors are successors to traditional silicon chips. Performing up to 100 times faster than silicon, they’re at the heart of the ‘Internet of Things’ – from healthcare devices and autonomous vehicles to radar and satellite systems.

The Centre provides fully funded EPSRC PhD studentships for four years for selected students. Successful candidates will also undertake an MSc during their first year. If they complete the year satisfactorily, they will then study for their PhD at Cardiff or one of three partner institutions – the University of Manchester, University of Sheffield and University College London.

CDT student Rachel Clark, 22, from Bedworth, Warwickshire, said: “After starting an MPhys lab project which focused on photovoltaic cells, I realised semiconductor research really appealed to me. The CDT was perfectly suited to my interests. What particularly attracted me is the diverse training on offer – a chance to gain skills which are vital not only for academia but also industry. I hope that the CDT helps me to develop dynamic skills and paves the way to a fulfilling and successful research career.”

Welcoming the first intake, Professor Peter Smowton, Head of School, Physics and Astronomy and Managing Director of Cardiff University’s Institute of Compound Semiconductors, said: “The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training provides a fantastic opportunity for graduates to obtain the training they need to enter an exciting, fast changing industry that needs talented scientists and engineers. They will not only gain useful research skills but will be able to learn directly about the industry from our partner companies.”

Dr Wyn Meredith, director of cluster partner Compound Semiconductor Centre – a joint industry venture between Cardiff University and IQE, said: “We welcome the opening of the CDT. The CSConnected cluster is growing. We directly support 1,500 high value engineering and science jobs, contributing £180M per annum to the regional economy. Current projections suggest Cluster employment will more than double by 2025. We foresee a demand for 100-150 PhD qualified staff to sustain this level over the next 5 years. The CDT will supply a cohort of highly skilled, entrepreneurial scientists and engineers who will drive growth beyond 2025.”

The CSConnected compound semiconductor cluster expects to create over 5,000 jobs in the coming years. Cardiff University and its partner universities are equipped with the expertise and facilities to provide the training needed by the industry.

A high-tech Translational Research Facility to help turn CS research into new industry-ready devices and applications is being built at Cardiff Innovation Campus. Due for completion in 2021, it will be home to Cardiff University’s Institute for Compound Semiconductors, working directly with industry to develop solutions for next generation CS technologies.

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