12 July 2022
Siemens establishes power electronics innovation hub in UK with CSA Catapult
Germany’s Siemens plc has entered into a strategic innovation partnership with the UK’s Compound Semiconductor Applications (CSA) Catapult to accelerate the development of leading-edge power electronics capability. The partnership model, a first for both companies in the UK, aims to focus on the development of disruptive power electronics and building advanced skills in the UK.
Established in 2017 by UK Government agency Innovate UK (which provides funding and support for business innovation as part of UK Research and Innovation), CSA Catapult is a not-for-profit organization (headquartered in Newport, South Wales) focused on accelerating the adoption of compound semiconductors and on bringing applications to life in four technology areas: power electronics, RF & microwave, advanced packaging and photonics. It works across the UK in a range of industry sectors from automotive to medical, and from digital communications to aerospace.
The partnership between Siemens and CSA Catapult aims to deliver a series of joint projects and potential future collaborative supply chain programs with other UK companies. CSA Catapult notes that it has a track record in bringing together end-to-end UK supply chains in power electronics.
To facilitate engagement with the UK power electronics ecosystem such as universities, Catapults, RTOs (research and technology organizations), industrial partners, start-ups and grant-funding organizations, there will be a dedicated Siemens power electronics innovation hub at CSA Catapult in Newport, Wales.
Siemens employees will be based on site at the Catapult, hosting Siemens colleagues from new recruits to sponsored students and PhDs. Siemens and CSA Catapult will jointly work on initiatives with other UK partners to address the skills gaps in power electronics.
For Siemens, power electronics is one of 11 Company Core Technologies, innovation areas which are most critical for the long-term success of the firm and its customers. Led by Digital Industries Motion Control (DI MC), the hub is a joint initiative between Technology Power Electronics (T PEL) and the Research and Innovation Ecosystem (T RIE), delivering disruptive technological solutions for a more sustainable world.
CSA Catapult’s role is to deliver long-term benefit to the UK economy and accelerate UK economic growth in industries where applying compound semiconductors creates a competitive advantage and enables new products or end markets.
CSA Catapult is delivering three projects: ESCAPE, @FutureBEV and Driving the Electric Revolution Industrialisation Centres (DER-IC), to create new UK supply chains and accelerate electrification and Net Zero. CSA Catapult is one of the four regional centers for DER-IC, a UK-wide investment program. It develops supply chain capability and competence for the underpinning of power electronics components and materials, towards UK net-zero goals.
“We are looking forward to expanding our Research and Innovation Ecosystem of world-leading universities and research institutes working with CSA Catapult,” says professor Rolf Hellinger, VP of Power Electronics at Siemens AG. “This collaboration will bring radical and disruptive technologies to market – fast, risk mitigated and economical,” he adds.
“Siemens being an innovation leader in power electronics is creating a high-value UK collaboration ecosystem with CSA Catapult, enabling us to accelerate commercialization of next-generation disruptive technologies underpinned by advanced PEMD skills,” comments Imran Agha, innovation manager, Innovation Centre for Power Electronics at Siemens plc. “This will help with building more sustainable, cleaner supply chains, and create more jobs for the future,” he adds.
“We are a global leader in compound semiconductor technology, with made in Wales products powering devices in every corner of the world,” says the Welsh Government’s Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething. “It’s great to see such a major company choosing to co-locate their first UK innovation hub alongside the Catapult in Newport. This will help with developing the skills of our existing and future workforce, and foster the ongoing development of the compound semiconductor cluster,” he adds.
“Catapults are supported by Innovate UK to drive innovation through a unique combination of facilities and expertise, and have a great track record of attracting inward investment and accelerating clusters,” notes Simon Edmonds, chief business officer at UK Government agency Innovate UK (which provides funding and support for business innovation as part of UK Research and Innovation). “The Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult is continuing this through the valuable partnership with Siemens, which will make a significant contribution to the CS cluster in South Wales, to the UK economy, and to the UK’s capability in compound semiconductors,” he reckons.
“This is a significant milestone for CSA Catapult; it will help us accelerate power electronics projects across UK industry, to solve complex innovation problems,” comments CSA Catapult’s CEO Martin McHugh. “We are hoping this is the first partnership of many and we are keen to discuss more,” he adds. “Working with Siemens, we will accelerate our internal research program and demonstrators and provide opportunities for our people.”
Developing power electronics skills across the UK is a priority, and working alongside Siemens will provide opportunities to attract more talent and skills to the region. Working across our industry, we will continue to build on our track record in bringing power electronic supply chains together, to support UK growth.”