CPD Unit’s Kate Sunderland taking leading role in skills agenda for CSconnected with new Project Manager position
25 March 2021
We are proud that Kate Sunderland, our Business Development Manager for the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, has been appointed as CPD Project Manager supporting CSconnected, the world’s first compound semiconductor (CS) cluster based in South Wales.
Kate’s new role has been made available thanks to a grant from UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund (SIPF) and is part of a much wider Strength in Places project, aiming to drive economic growth within CSconnected. It will build on Kate’s previous experience of working with the cluster, particularly with Newport Wafer Fab. Kate will now be splitting her time between this and her existing role within the CPD Unit.
So what are Compound Semiconductors? These are the enabling materials behind next generation technologies. Electric vehicles, healthcare technologies, and robotics and Artificial Intelligence are expected to drive the global demand for semiconductors to 2025 and beyond. Cardiff University is home to innovation in this CS technology.
Skills will play a major part in supporting the economic growth of the CS cluster and this is affirmed Cardiff Capital Region’s Employment and Skills Plan (2019-22), which highlights compound semiconductors as one of its six priority sector areas. Kate’s new role will coordinate CPD support for CSconnected, as well as for organisations up and down-chain.
Kate will be working with the twelve consortium partners, including Swansea University, as well as local Further Education colleges to develop and deliver a wider and deeper CPD curriculum. This builds on the pilot short course previously delivered by Cardiff University’s Institute for Compound Semiconductors. The aim is to reach over 25% of the expanded workforce through CPD activities by 2025 as well as develop the foundations for a larger, long-term intervention in the skills agenda.
Kate will also be working closely with CSconnected who will be leading on other elements of the skills agenda, including a Degree Apprenticeship programme as well as inclusion, outreach and engagement activities to the wider community within the local region. She will also collaborate with the existing CS Education Group who are coordinating skills for the cluster and developing a pathway of skills at all levels, for school leavers through to post-doctorate graduates. The grant through SIPF will enable the acceleration of the skills activities already carried out to date.
As mentioned, the skills agenda is part of the much larger SIPF £44M award, in which Cardiff University is the leading partner, to develop a CS powerhouse in South Wales. As well as supporting skills, the investment from UKRI’s SIPF and additional funding from partners is enabling a collaborative Research & Development programme, a ‘front of house’ home for CSconnected, and investment in CSconnected cluster building support for marketing, branding and engagement activities. The award compliments other activities supporting CSconnected, including the work of the Compound Semiconductor Centre, the Centre for Integrative Semiconductor Materials, the CS Applications Catapult, the MSc programmes offered by Cardiff and Swansea universities, a PhD programme through the Centre for Doctoral Training in CS Manufacturing, and innovative research conducted through The Future Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing Hub.
CSconnected, the world’s first global centre of excellence for Compound Semiconductor, is a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2017 and home to a unique eco-system of high technology capability leading the way in applied research, advanced applications, collaborative innovation firmly cementing Wales’ and the UK’s position at the forefront of new and emerging material and device technologies.
Cardiff University is building a new bespoke centre for Compound Semiconductor research, the Translational Research Hub, which is due to open in Spring 2022. It will be home to the Institute for Compound Semiconductors, which aims to position Cardiff as the European leader in compound semiconductors, providing cutting-edge facilities that help researchers and industry work together.
If you'd like to talk to Kate about professional development opportunities for your organisation or business, please feel free to email or call for an informal chat.