Playing a key role in the South Wales compound semiconductor cluster

Date: 26.04.2024

Topics: Advanced Packaging, Future telecoms, Photonics


The opportunity

Clusters are vital to bringing industry and academia together to drive the compound semiconductor industry forward. CSconnected is the world’s first compound semiconductor cluster, with 13 partners, including the Catapult, and is recognised as a world-leading centre of excellence in compound semiconductor research, innovation and manufacturing. 

Our role

As a neutral convener for industry, the Catapult’s role is both pivotal and unique: we rapidly build the complex supply chains and deliver vital expertise and infrastructure in evaluation and reliability testing services, some of which are not available anywhere else in the UK. 

CSconnected case study


The Catapult contributed to four collaborative research and innovation (CRD) projects part-funded by UKRI’s investment of the £25m flagship Strength in Places Fund (2020–25) to further develop South Wales as home to a compound semiconductor powerhouse. The collaborative research programme totals £27.2m. 

The key projects are: 

  • next generation optical communications and sensing. This work package is focussed on the development of optical component solutions for high capacity data centres and LiDAR sensing for autonomous vehicles 


  • large scale GaAs-based wafer manufacturing. This work package is developing scalable compound semiconductor materials solutions for photonic, wireless and flexible photovoltaic applications 


  • novel and efficient compound semiconductor wafer fabrication tools. This work package is advancing next generation semiconductor manufacturing equipment and associated processes to scale up compound semiconductor wafer and device fabrication


  • advanced processes for 5G and EV systems. This work package will demonstrate novel, advanced volume assembly capability for CS-based electronic modules for 5G applications and power electronics for miniaturised electric vehicle motor drives 


The objectives of the CRD activity under the Strength in Places Fund are: 

  • to generate a pipeline of new IP and increase manufacturing capability in the region  
  • to generate and expand a skilled workforce within the compound semiconductor industry  
  • to develop optimal conditions for sustainable growth of the regional compound semiconductor industry 
  • to seek onward investment to establish a globally recognised cluster for competitive markets 
  • to support the uplift of gross value added (GVA), directly impacted by the growth of the cluster and supply chain expansion within the South Wales region 
  • for CSA Catapult specifically, to support a collaborative consortium in order to co-create, develop and deploy a new generation of technology within the compound semiconductor industry Since the inception of the cluster vision, the South Wales compound semiconductor ecosystem has grown to support more than 2,600 high-value jobs, with a more than £300m per annum contribution to the region’s economy. 
Chris Meadows
Playing a key role in the South Wales compound semiconductor cluster

“Semiconductors represent one of the world’s largest and fastest growing industry sectors. Our dependence on semiconductors became abundantly clear during the Covid pandemic when demand for technologies enabled by our sector created severe shortages across many end markets.

“Specialising in compound semiconductor technologies, South Wales plays a key role within this essential industry sector that is at the heart of our digital world, from handsets to data centres, mobility and net zero applications, healthcare, robotics and AI.”

Chris Meadows, Director, CSconnected

“The Catapult provides an essential role in connecting the South Wales Semiconductor Cluster to UK supply chains and other centres of manufacturing excellence in the wider UK hi-tech ecosystem. The collective capability is positioned as a key UK sovereign capability, which is a key pillar in the UK National Semiconductor Strategy.”

Wyn Meredith, Chair, CSconnected

Get in touch

To learn more about how we can work together, get in touch with a member of our team today.

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