5 July 2022
Cardiff University-based Translational Research Hub opens for business
The Translational Research Hub (TRH) — home to the Institute for Compound Semiconductors (ICS) and Cardiff Catalysis Institute (CCI) — is now open for business, with the aim of fostering collaboration.
Funded by UK and Welsh governments, TRH brings together industrial partners alongside researchers to design, develop and test new cleaner, greener products and processes using its bespoke laboratories, offices, shared collaborative spaces, bespoke European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)-funded cleanroom and microscopy suite.
The 129,000ft2 research hub is the largest of its kind in Wales and exemplifies UK and Wales commitments to new collaborative scientific solutions to Net Zero.
TRH has been supported by UK and Wales funders, including £17.3m through UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF), £12m from Welsh Government, £13.1m in European funding administered by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO), and £2.7m from the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW).
“South Wales is home to the world’s first compound semiconductor cluster based on the prowess and prestige of Cardiff’s chemical science research,” notes Science & Innovation Minister George Freeman. “This Translational Research Hub will bring together business and academia to help generate new technological solutions to tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges, from healthcare to energy… The government’s investment will help drive forward our Net Zero ambitions while boosting our efforts to establish the UK as a science and technology superpower,” he adds.
“The significant investment we’ve made in the center will help bring some of the most brilliant minds in Welsh academia together to find and develop made-in-Wales solutions to the major problems facing Wales and the rest of the world,” says Wales Economy Minister Vaughan Gething. “Developing ‘next generation’ practices and technologies that will both shape our lives today and improve our experiences tomorrow will be crucial if we are to meet the climate emergency head on and build a greener, more sustainable economy.”
The TRH forms part of Cardiff University’s biggest campus upgrade for a generation - a £600m investment that includes sbarc|spark, the Centre for Student Life and the Abacws building.
“TRH is a magnet for innovation. Built with industry to support cutting-edge research and to strengthen the university’s interaction with industry, it will support the UK and Wales economy by building partnerships that create new products and processes,” says professor Rudolf Allemann, pro vice-chancellor, International and Student Recruitment and head of the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering. “Cardiff’s leading researchers will use these fantastic bespoke facilities to work with partners across exciting sectors including energy, advanced materials, transport, communication and healthcare, creating pioneering new technologies, charting innovative research directions that lead to future funding proposals,” he adds.
Picture: Left to right: Helen Shaw, programme manager, Cardiff University; professor Rudolf Allemann, pro vice-chancellor, International and Student Recruitment and head of the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering; Dr James Hayward, Cardiff Catalysis Institute; professor Peter Smowton, managing director, Institute for Compound Semiconductors; Rhys Cresswell, BYUK senior site manager and Chris Carson, BYUK site manager.
“As a founder member of the CSconnected cluster in South Wales, we play a pivotal role in developing new energy-efficient technology and effective techniques for the mass production of compound semiconductors,” states professor Peter Smowton, director, Institute for Compound Semiconductors (ICS). “CS technologies are at the heart of green transport – electric vehicles, energy-efficient communications and so-called ‘smart’ technologies,” he adds.
Two new buildings sit alongside the TRH to help industry turn ideas into transformative industrial applications. A first-in-class ICS ERDF-funded cleanroom features the capability to trial, establish and scale new and innovative compound semiconductor devices to an industrial standard on wafers up to 200mm in diameter. Also, CCI’s bespoke Electron Microscopy Facility will deliver expertise and capability in nanomaterial imaging, analysis and characterization, facilitating new approaches to catalyst design and synthesis.
TRH sits next door to Cardiff’s newly opened sbarc|spark building, home to the Social Science Research Park (SPARK) and Cardiff Innovations@sbarc|spark – the University’s creative base for spinouts and startups.