ICS Gets £13m Funding Boost

Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford announced a £13m funding boost for Cardiff University’s Institute of Compound Semiconductors (ICS). According to the Institute, the EU funding will help build, equip and run its new state-of-the-art cleanroom at Cardiff University’s Innovation Campus.

The funding builds on long-running collaboration between the University and IQE along with the Welsh and UK Government to create a hub of compound semiconductor expertise in South Wales. Previous funding awards for the ICS include £17.3m from the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund and £12m from Welsh Government.

ICS will work with commercial partners to turn its laboratory research into compound semiconductor products and services. ICS points out that compound semiconductor technologies form the basis for WiFi and the Internet and have enabled new emerging super trends such as Smart Phones, tablets, and satellite communications.

Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford said, “Investing in world leading facilities so that academia and industry can collaborate and drive forward research in this sector will be an important boost to the Welsh economy…”

Applications for Compound Semiconductors

Compound Semiconductors combine elements to form materials that can run at higher frequencies, higher power and can operate at higher temperatures for wide-ranging technological applications in RF and optoelectronic communication, Radar, Lidar, as well as solid state lighting.

Dr Drew Nelson, CEO, IQE plc, said, “The role of compound semiconductors as an enabling technology for a wide range of next generation applications from high-speed communications to autonomous vehicles, is widely acknowledged worldwide, with major initiatives underway by blue-chip organisations, academic institutions and government agencies, particularly in Asia and the USA…”

Dr. Nelson added, “Today’s announcement of £13M investment by WEFO significantly adds weight and credibility to Wales becoming a global hub in this key enabling technology that will drive innovation over the coming years and decades.”