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21 January 2019

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

The European Commission has approved a plan, spearheaded by Wales, that identifies compound semiconductors as an important sector. Approval means that member states can provide up to €1.75bn of funding for research activities and first deployment. This is expected to open doors to an additional €6bn in private investment, and ultimately help to bring new technology innovations to market.

The project is the first integrated research, development and innovation program stemming from the Strategic Forum for Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) to be approved by the Commission, highlighting the importance of microelectronics and compound semiconductors for the European economy. The overall objective of IPCEI is to deliver an integrated and collaborative approach to research and innovation to develop innovative components and technologies for use in applications including 5G communications, connected autonomous vehicles, and other next-generation commercial and industrial devices.

The project is expected to benefit both the Welsh and the wider UK economy by establishing South East Wales as the leading center of compound semiconductor expertise.

The UK element of the pan-European joint microelectronics research and innovation project was driven by the Welsh Government and involves three Welsh companies: IQE, Newport Wafer Fab and SPTS Technologies (an Orbotech company), along with Manchester-based ICS Ltd.

“Wales’ semiconductor cluster and its contribution to many of the technologies that are so prevalent in our modern everyday lives is a real source of pride, and I am delighted Wales has taken the lead on behalf of the UK in co-ordinating this project that will drive vital research and accelerate innovation work across Europe,” states Wales’ Economy Minister Ken Skates. “The EU’s decision to approve the plan is huge news for the sector and of course for Wales’ wider economy, paving the way for up to £6bn of private investment throughout Europe and enabling our own semiconductor companies to work alongside international giants in their field,” he adds.

“Every connected device, every modern machine, all our digital services depend on microelectronic components that become smaller and faster with time. If we don’t want to depend on others for such essential technology, for example for security or performance reasons, we have to be able to design and produce them ourselves,” says Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, in charge of Digital Economy and Society. “The decision to approve the project is a result of enhanced cooperation and shared European vision.”

The UK is already home to a number of businesses and research facilities in the compound semiconductor space, with a particular concentration in Wales. The South Wales semiconductor cluster - branded CSconnected - is a center for enabling technologies powered by compound semiconductors. It is further supported by the surrounding region, which has a range of facilities and businesses that support high-tech supply chains, from R&D through to innovative solutions.

See related items:

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.clustercollaboration.eu/tags/ipcei

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