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UK Science Minister visits Research Hub

6 June 2023

Professor Peter Smowton, Institute for Compound Semiconductors, stands outside the sbarc|spark building at Cardiff University to welcome Minister Chloe Smith MP and Sir Derek Jones for a tour of the Translational Research Hub
Professor Peter Smowton, Institute for Compound Semiconductors, welcomes Minister Chloe Smith MP and Sir Derek Jones

The UK Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, the Rt Hon Chloe Smith MP, has visited Cardiff University’s Translational Research Hub (TRH) to help launch the UK Government’s long-awaited semiconductor strategy.

The Minister was joined by Professor Colin Riordan, President and Vice-Chancellor, for a tour of the recently-launched TRH – an industry facility where researchers develop tomorrow’s Compound Semiconductor (CS) technologies.

Formally opened by Nobel Peace Prize-winning climate scientist, Professor Donald J. Wuebbles, TRH brings together specialists from the Institute for Compound Semiconductors (ICS) and Cardiff Catalysis Institute (CCI) to develop Net Zero industry solutions.

The visit was hosted with Cardiff-led CSconnected - the world’s first cluster of CS research, innovation and manufacturing capabilities. Working closely with TRH and ICS, CSconnected operates across many industry sectors.

Welcoming the Minister to the University, Professor Riordan said: “It’s been wonderfully serendipitous to launch TRH, host the Minister’s visit and welcome the publication of the UK Government’s long-awaited National Semiconductor Strategy in just two days. We were able to give the Secretary of State first-hand insight into our newly-launched facilities in TRH, including the ICS cleanroom, and explain how close collaboration between academia, industry, government and civic society makes TRH the best-in-class UK facility of its kind.”

Secretary of State for Science, Innovation, and Technology, Chloe Smith, said: “The South Wales cluster is a vital part of the UK’s semiconductor ecosystem, and my visit to Cardiff University’s Translational Research Hub underlined the world-leading strengths we can call on. An initial £1 billion will ensure we can continue to build upon those strengths in the decades to come, unlocking new innovations and high-skilled jobs that will grow our semiconductor industry and fuel economic growth.”

Professor Rudolf Allemann, Pro Vice-Chancellor, International and Student Recruitment and Head of the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, said: A well defined UK Government strategy will allow us to align ICS research with business needs. TRH researchers collaborate with industry partners to bridge the gap to industry, developing new CS products and processes for a cleaner, greener, sustainable future.”

Dr Wyn Meredith, Chair of CSconnected, said: “Having a UK Semiconductor strategy in place to complement the US and European Chip Acts will allow UK industry to thrive in a highly-competitive market. We were keen to show the Minister why the South Wales Cluster, in partnership with Cardiff University and other member organisations, has the expertise to help the UK deliver and grow its role in global semiconductor supply chains across existing, new and emerging technologies.”

The National Semiconductor Strategy sets out how up to £1 billion of government investment will boost the UK’s strengths and skills in design, R&D and compound semiconductors, while helping to grow domestic chip firms across the UK.

Cardiff works with the Compound Semiconductor Centre, the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult, Swansea University and a number of globally recognised industry leading semiconductor companies as part of CSconnected.

Supported by the UK government through their UK Research and Innovation scheme (UKRI) and Strength in Places Fund, the 55-month project began in November 2020 has a total value of £43 million, supported by £25 million of UKRI funds, with the balance of investments provided by project partners.

It supports 2,600 high-value jobs and has an ambition to double its economic output as a major contributor to the UK semiconductor strategy.

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