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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/Y024184/1
Title: Stream 2: South Wales Compound Semiconductor Place Based Impact Accelerator
Principal Investigator: Smowton, Professor PM
Other Investigators:
Inserra, Dr C Meredith, Professor P
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
CCR Skills Partnership SETsquared Partnership
Department: School of Physics and Astronomy
Organisation: Cardiff University
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 02 January 2024 Ends: 01 January 2028 Value (£): 4,408,907
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Optoelect. Devices & Circuits
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
26 Jun 2023 PBIAA Interview Panel B Announced
05 Jun 2023 PBIAA Sift R1 Panel Meeting B Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
"Semiconductors" are synonymous with "Silicon Chips". After all Silicon supported computing technologies in the 20th century. But Silicon is reaching fundamental limits and already many of the technologies we now take for granted are only possible because of Compound Semiconductors (CS). These include The Internet, Smart Phones, GPS and Energy efficient LED lighting!

CSs are also at the heart of most of the new technologies expected in the next few years including 6G wireless, ultra-high speed optical fibre connectivity, LIDAR for autonomous vehicles, high voltage switching for electric vehicles, the IoT and high capacity data storage. CSs also offer huge opportunities for energy efficiency and net zero.

Unlike for Silicon, the UK has a strong and vibrant CS Manufacturing capability centred on South Wales, with world leading companies. The UK government is already using the CS cluster to encourage inward investment into South Wales and the UK. https://www.great.gov.uk/international/content/investment/opportunities/compound-semiconductors-and-applications-in-south-wales/

EPSRC and UKRI have funded significant research in CS and we now have the opportunity to convert more of that research to innovation and start-up companies in the location where they have the best chance of success - the CS cluster. We also have the opportunity to support start-ups and SMEs, creating products that use CS, to innovate in their supply chain.

To do this we need funding to enable entrepreneurs to demonstrate their ideas and for support to launch them on an innovation runway.

We need to buy-out expert time to help entrepreneurs and companies, who need to use CS but don't have a detailed understanding of the manufacturing details, to innovate in their supply chain and to connect them to the companies in the cluster that can scale-up manufacturing for them.

The shortage of skilled staff is the biggest single factor limiting the growth of the cluster, with e.g. KLA SPTS opening a new research and manufacturing facility in 2025 with 750 new jobs and the other companies also increasing workforce numbers. We will address this in 3 main ways:

1) upskill minimum of 100 staff in existing companies with high level specialist practical skills for at least 50, including transferring new techniques to companies and "training the trainer".

2) train at least 200 new entrants to the CS workforce with a mixture of entry level material, advanced material and practical CS and highly specialist practical skills.

3) Inspire greater number of entrants to the CS workforce by inspiring at least 10000 in the region about science, technology and manufacturing and the fantastic opportunities it affords

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.cf.ac.uk