Building a compound semiconductor powerhouse in Wales

Together with our partners in South Wales, the compound semiconductor cluster, CSconnected represents a globally significant investment, generating annual sales of £500m and employing 1,600 highly skilled engineers. Uniquely, the cluster includes world-leading university research working alongside large volume fabrication facilities. Capable of supplying global demand for compound semiconductors, the ‘fabs’ operate an open foundry model, developing new compound semiconductor devices according to customer demands.

Last year, the cluster attracted a £25m investment from UK Research and Innovation’s flagship Strength in Places Fund to further its aims. The combined capabilities put the cluster in pole position to address a global market forecast to be worth $124bn by 2024.

  • As a founding partner of the South Wales advanced semiconductor cluster, ‘CSconnected’, the Catapult played a pivotal role in securing £25m support for the expansion of the cluster from the UKRI Strength in Places Fund, by creating the linkages to critical UK supply chains.

    Dr Wyn Meredith

    Chair of CSconnected Management Group

Connecting compound semiconductor manufacturing to end markets

To achieve our global ambitions requires access to large, scalable, global markets. Partnering with clusters of capability around the UK provides a springboard to address those markets.

Significant clusters exist around the UK in areas relating to Net Zero and future telecom networks. Combining the collective strength of these clusters elevates the UK’s presence on the international stage, with the Catapult taking a central role in coordinating activity and minimizing duplication.

Scotland boasts the world’s oldest photonics cluster, dating back to Barr and Stroud in the 19th century. Today, Scottish photonics is a £1bn industry, employing 4,000 highly skilled engineers serving markets as diverse as cube-satellite manufacturing and lasers for smartphone assembly. Northern Ireland hosts world-leading capability in data centers. North East England has a cluster of companies developing electric vehicles and wireless telecom systems, supporting 5G, satellite communications, and beyond. In South West England, a cluster of 174 integrated photonics companies generates over £500m in annual sales, employing over 3,000 highly skilled staff.

This unique concentration of economic activity, industrial capability, and innovation harnesses UK supply chains to deliver impact at an international level.

Northern Ireland (data centres) Western Gateway (cyber, digital, small-cell base stations, networks, compound semiconductors) CSconnected (DER-IC*, semiconductors, magnetics) South West England (high-speed optical) Surrey (5G) Cambridge (optical, radio, satellite) Midlands (DER-IC*,manufacturing processes) North East cluster (optical, radio, satellite) North East (DER-IC*, motors and drivers) Central Scotland (photonics, cube-satellites) Central Scotland (DER-IC*, high power PEMD) Net Zero Telecoms

*Driving the Electric Revolution Industrialisation Centre 

  • In partnership with the Photonics Leadership Group and the photonics industry, the Catapult is playing a key role in identifying efficient mechanisms to increase the diversity of suppliers throughout the telecommunications equipment supply chain in the UK. This will leverage the UK’s globally leading capability in compound semiconductors to higher levels in the value chain, capturing more value and giving greater security to the UK.

    Dr John Lincoln

    Chief Executive of the UK Photonics Leadership Group