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8 February 2019

Newport compound semiconductor foundry at CSconnected recruits first 32 staff

Epiwafer foundry and substrate maker IQE plc of Cardiff, Wales, UK says that, within the first year of the compound semiconductor wafer foundry in Newport, South Wales, 32 technicians and engineers have begun work with a further 10 vacancies in the process of being filled.

Secured by the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) City Deal’s Wider Investment Fund for £38.5m and leased by IQE for compound semiconductor manufacturing and applications development, the facility will become the hub of the regional technology cluster CSconnected (the world’s first compound semiconductor cluster), based in South Wales.

Since the signing in September 2017, IQE has accelerated its expansion plans at the new flagship site, recruiting and training for the first 32 new roles within the first 12 months, with many more to follow. More than 75% of the roles had been recruited within the Cardiff Capital Region, coming from eight of ten council areas represented within the City Deal.

“This investment is already generating significant, good quality employment that will strengthen the wider region and some of its most deprived areas,” says CCR director Kellie Beirne.

“The creation of the world’s first compound semiconductor cluster in South-East Wales is exactly the kind of investment we are seeking to achieve for this region,” says Councillor Peter Fox, leader of Monmouthshire County Council and co-lead for Business and Innovation.

With construction at the new facility in full force and the first phase completed, the investment has also provided employment opportunities for construction firms based in the region: 20% of all the construction staff came from organizations based in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

“Our vision is to create the world’s first end-to-end compound semiconductor cluster in South Wales, and in doing so set the foundations for many high-tech supply chains to all major industrial sectors globally,” says IQE’s CEO Dr Drew Nelson. “Growing global demand for compound semiconductor-enabled technologies has led to our significant investment in capital and people. When fully operational, we expect to employ up to 500 people at the Newport facility,” he adds. “Throughout its first year, the Newport semiconductor site has provided employment for an average of 84 construction workers every week. Around three quarters of that work has gone to firms either based, or with an office in, the Cardiff Capital Region, supporting regional workforces.”

With facilities at the flagship site in place, the first ten production tools have been installed, with capacity in place for the next ten. The first product samples have already shipped from the foundry site.

A £50m investment in the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult by Innovate UK has also been confirmed as part of the CSconnected cluster, which will bring with it about 90 jobs and support R&D across the compound semiconductor sector. Work will begin on installing the Catapult facility in the coming weeks.

Also, the Cardiff University-led Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing will provide PhD-level training aligned with the needs of UK industry. It is one of 75 CDTs announced by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) as part of a £446m investment in skills by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Co-created with IQE, Compound Semiconductor Centre, Newport Wafer Fab and the Compound Semiconductor Applications (CSA) Catapult, the CDT is an alliance of four universities (Cardiff, UCL, Sheffield and Manchester) and 24 companies, many already working closely together via the EPSRC Future CS Manufacturing Hub, based at Cardiff University. With established excellence in CS disciplines, the CDT aims to provide distinctive PhD training that is industrially relevant and intellectually challenging.

See related items:

EC approves €1.75bn funding for IPCEI research and innovation project focused on microelectronics and compound semiconductors

Cardiff Capital Region, Welsh and UK Governments and IQE ratify development of Compound Semiconductor Foundry

First compound semiconductor cluster branded CS Connected

Tags:  IQE

Visit:  www.newportwaferfab.co.uk

Visit:  www.iqep.com

Visit:  http://csconnected.com

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