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School of Engineering part of new £10m Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing Hub

6 December 2016

Abstract image of Semiconductor wafers

The School of Engineering is part of a joint Physics and Engineering research team which has been awarded £10m to develop a Future Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing Hub.

Cardiff University is one of six universities across the UK to receive a £10m share of the £60m awarded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Council to improve the UK’s manufacturing processes. The grant was announced yesterday by the Universities, Science, Research and Innovation Minister, Jo Johnson.

A team of researchers from the Schools of Engineering, and Physics and Astronomy, have received £10m in funding to lead a consortium which will draw together research expertise from Sheffield University, University College London and the University of Manchester. They will be part of the Future Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing Hub which will conduct research into large scale Compound Semiconductor manufacturing as well as in manufacturing integrated Compound Semiconductors on silicon.  The Director of the new Hub is Professor Peter Smowton who will lead the joint research team from the School of Physics and Astronomy and the School of Engineering.

The Hub will also include a large group of industrial partners including Compound Semiconductor manufacturer IQE, who are part of the Compound Semiconductor Centre based at Cardiff University.

Announcing this major investment in the UK's manufacturing research base, Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said: “Developing new innovative manufacturing techniques will help UK industry create new products, explore more business opportunities and ensure the UK becomes more competitive and productive.

This investment will lay the foundations to allow industry and our world-leading universities to thrive for years to come and is exactly the type of project that our upcoming Industrial Strategy will look to support.”

Professor Paul Tasker, from the School of Engineering, said: "This is an excellent example of universities and industry working together to improve the UK's manufacturing processes, to boost the economy and to create jobs. Along with our university research partners we also have some 26 industrial partners and organisations who will add their expertise to the Hub."

Drew Nelson, CEO of IQE, said: “IQE produced CS materials for 10 billion wireless chips last year, underpinning the worldwide mobile communications industry. The Hub will allow us to exploit the highly advantageous electronic, magnetic, optical and power handling properties of Compound Semiconductors while utilising the cost and scaling advantage of silicon technology where it fits best.”

Professor Peter Smowton added: “We are open to interactions with new partner companies and universities, and we can provide opportunities through feasibility project funding calls to kick-start future partnerships with the power to change the way we live.”

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