26 June 2020
IQE plc (AIM: IQE, "IQE" or the "Group"), the leading manufacturer of advanced semiconductor wafer products for the global semiconductor industry, today welcomes the UK Government's approval of a major £43.74m project with South Wales' compound semiconductor cluster. This comes as part of the first wave of funding through UK Research and Innovation's flagship Strength in Places Fund (SIPF).
The project's twelve partners include key Welsh Anchor Companies (IQE plc, Newport Wafer Fab (NWF) and SPTS), two universities (lead partner Cardiff University and Swansea University), CSC and several government organisations, including the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult.
The initiative is one of seven chosen to be supported by the UK Government as part of a broader £400m investment programme being announced today.
The CSconnected project is based around integrating research excellence with the unique regional supply chains in advanced semiconductor manufacturing.
Compound semiconductors are critical components across a wide range of new technologies and the primary aim of the CSConnected project is to develop a competitive advantage in key enabling technologies which will allow the UK to increase trade globally in critical sectors such as optical communications, 5G, autonomous and electric vehicles, aerospace, robotics and medical devices.
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Alok Sharma, said:
"Today's announcement will ensure some of our country's most promising R&D projects get the investment they need to take off and thrive.
Working with the private sector our world-class universities, we're backing new and innovative ideas that will create jobs and boost skills in every part of the UK for years to come."
Dr Drew Nelson, Chief Executive Officer of IQE, commented:
"The UK has a huge opportunity to put high-tech manufacturing at the heart of its industrial strategy and supercharge economic growth. The UK leads the world in the design and manufacturing of compound semiconductor wafers. This funding from the UK Government is welcome and serves as recognition of the potential of the cluster which remains the world's first for compound semiconductors, and will be crucial in helping the UK to fulfil its technology potential. Compound semiconductors are the most advanced semiconductor materials available with a range of unique properties, and will be at the heart of almost every major industrial sector of the 21st century".
IQE has become a regional flagship for the global compound semiconductor industry in Wales since it was established more than 30 years ago, and has been the key driver in championing the formation of CSconnected.
Despite its global footprint, IQE has firm roots in Wales. The company is headquartered in Cardiff and has made a major commitment to the region with its investment in a new facility in Newport which will become the world's largest compound semiconductor epi-foundry.
The Strength in Places (SIP) programme is a multi-year project that aims to strengthen the South Wales' cluster on the world stage. IQE will continue to play a key role in establishing world leading technologies for next generation applications.
The £43m SIP investment includes four key collaborative research and development projects, one of which will be led by IQE, but the company will play an important role in materials development across each of the four projects.
Dr Wyn Meredith, CSC and lead author of the SIPF application, commented:
"Today's announcement is excellent news for Wales and the UK, providing a unique opportunity to harness the excellent research and innovation capabilities in a way that translates into world-class UK based manufacturing for new and emerging global technology markets".
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Cardiff University (Lead partner for CSconnected programme):
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IQE is the leading global supplier of advanced compound semiconductor wafers and materials solutions that enable a diverse range of applications across:
· handset devices
· global telecoms infrastructure
· connected devices
· 3D sensing
As a scaled global epitaxy wafer manufacturer, IQE is uniquely positioned in this market which has high barriers to entry. IQE supplies the whole market and is agnostic to the winners and losers at chip and OEM level. By leveraging the Group's intellectual property portfolio including know-how and patents, it produces epitaxy wafers of superior quality, yield and unit economics.
IQE is headquartered in Cardiff UK, with c. 650 employees across nine manufacturing locations in the UK, US, Taiwan and Singapore, and is listed on the AIM Stock Exchange in London.
CSconnected represents the world's first global centre of excellence for Compound Semiconductors, a unique eco-system of high technology capability leading the way in applied research, advanced applications, collaborative innovation putting Wales and the UK at the forefront of new and emerging material and device to market.
CSconnected is a cluster of academic institutions, innovation organisations and industrial partners collaborating to providing thought leadership and expertise to foster and promote the role of Compound Semiconductors as a key enabling technology.
Visit www.csconnected.com to learn more.
ABOUT UK RESEARCH AND INNOVATION
UK Research and Innovation works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. We aim to maximise the contribution of each of our component parts, working individually and collectively. We work with our many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas.
Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £7 billion, UK Research and Innovation brings together the seven research councils, Innovate UK and Research England. www.ukri.org
ABOUT STRENGTH IN PLACES FUND
Led by UK Research and Innovation, Strength in Places Fund (SIPF) is a competitive funding scheme that takes a place-based approach to research and innovation funding, to support significant local economic growth.