CSA Catapult to open Future Telecoms Hub in Bristol

Date: 20.07.2023

CSA Catapult Future Telecoms Hub

Compound Semiconductor Applications (CSA) Catapult, the UK’s authority on compound semiconductor applications and commercialisation, is to open a Future Telecoms Hub in Bristol as part of its plans to support industry across the UK.

Supported by Innovate UK through a £2.5m investment, the Future Telecoms Hub will allow CSA Catapult to deepen and accelerate its expertise in telecoms in line with the UK Government’s plans for telecoms diversification.

The Future Telecoms Hub will open in Autumn 2023 and will be based at the Bristol & Bath Science Park.

Work at the Future Telecoms Hub will be primarily focussed on the energy efficiency and security of telecoms hardware—factors which have become critically important in developing future networks that are robust and resilient and are less impactful on the environmental.

The Future Telecoms Hub will deliver translational research and provide access to commercial testbeds that improve the speed, energy efficiency and security of networks through CSA Catapult’s expertise in radio frequency (RF), photonics and quantum technologies.

Initial focus at the Future Telecoms Hub will be on improving the performance of power amplifiers—one of the biggest inefficiencies in existing telecoms networks—through load pull testing and design optimisation.

Collaborative research projects with Cardiff University and the University of Bristol will also be undertaken at the Future Telecoms Hub.

This new base in Bristol will complement CSA Catapult's existing operations at its Innovation Centre in Newport, South Wales and provide access to a wider range of expertise and resources.


Abstract digital image of intertwining blue and white waveforms set against a black background. The waveforms create a dynamic, flowing pattern, resembling sound waves or energy signals. - CSA Catapult

Bristol is home to several major technology companies and research institutions and has a thriving innovation ecosystem in the aerospace and defence industries, where telecoms hardware is routinely used.

The Future Telecoms Hub will also link CSA Catapult activities across CSconnected, the world’s first compound semiconductor cluster in South Wales, and the Western Gateway, the UK’s first pan-regional partnership that brings together local leaders from two countries.

As part of its 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy, the UK government has set an ambition to provide most of the UK population with a 5G signal by 2027 and to create a more diverse and competitive supply chain for telecoms networks.

Driven by the growth of 5G networks and the adoption of next-generation technologies such as AI and the Internet of Things, the telecoms hardware market is forecast to grow in the coming years — the global telecom equipment market accounted for $538.9 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $967.9 billion by 2030, with a considerable CAGR of 6.9%.

CSA Catapult is already engaged in several projects helping to build safe and secure sovereign supply chains in the UK’s telecoms hardware space, such as ORanGaN and Secure5G.

The Secure 5G project is building a flexible platform that will enable companies to roll out and maintain their own quantum-safe private networks, with targeted applications for Industry 4.0, mobile edge computing (MEC), the Internet of Things (IoT) and highly secure environments, such as defence.

The ORanGaN project is looking to develop a sovereign UK supply chain, manufacturing processes and packaging solutions for radio frequency gallium nitride (RF-GaN) devices that are critical to 5G communications systems electronics hardware.

Devices made using compound semiconductors will increasingly be at the heart of a new breed of advanced electronics needed to meet demand for digital services. Networks which exploit compound semiconductors will have lower latency, greater flexibility, even greater capacity and provide affordable access for everyone.

“The opening of our Future Telecoms Hub is a significant milestone in the Catapult’s journey as we expand our activities across the UK.

“Bristol has an established network of innovative companies and research institutions located within and around the city, as well as strong links with partners across the Western Gateway, so it was a natural fit for us to place our future telecoms capability here.

“With the widespread adoption of 5G and our increasing dependence on connected technologies, the demand for safe, secure and reliable telecoms infrastructure has never been greater. The Future Telecoms Hub will enable our partners to bring new telecoms technologies to market and allow us to continue to build supply chains, secure jobs and grow the UK economy.”

Martin McHugh, Chief Executive Officer at CSA Catapult

“Innovate UK is committed to supporting growth and increased productivity across the UK, with the Catapults having a significant role in developing local economies.

“This new investment by Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult will connect this national capability to opportunities across the telecoms industry and their applications in support of business innovation in the South West of England.”

Dean Cook, Director – Place and Levelling Up, Innovate UK

“The Western Gateway area is home to industry with 55% of global market share in developing certain types of compound semiconductors, making this a vital sector for the UK.  Our area is also a digital innovation powerhouse and it is great to see support for industry growing across our area with the opening of a new site in Bristol with a Future Telecoms Hub.

“I look forward to working more with the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult to see how we can help support the industries of the future in our area.”

Katherine Bennett CBE, Chair of the Western Gateway