Leading British companies, engineers, and experts will join forces in a new national innovation centre in Wales focused on compound semiconductors, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced today, bringing vital investment and jobs to the region.
On a visit to Cardiff University ahead of a major speech on the UK and Welsh economies, Osborne announced new plans to put science and innovation at the heart of economic growth, including the establishment of a new ‘Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult,’ which will be funded by £10 million per year of government investment until 2020.
The new Catapult will be based in Wales, with the exact location and founding members to be announced later.
“Backing cutting-edge science and innovation is at the heart of our long-term plan to support Welsh people at every stage of their lives,” said Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. That is why I am announcing today £50 million in new funding for a national semiconductor innovation centre in Wales, which will bring together leading scientists and businesses.
“The investment we are announcing today will ensure that Wales remains a world leader in science and innovation, while also creating critical new jobs in the sector.”
Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities and Science, stated, “This new Compound Semiconductor Catapult recognises Wales’ reputation as a leader in advanced electronics.” Bringing academics and businesses together to develop new technologies will benefit areas of our daily lives ranging from the next generation 5G mobile network to improving airport security scanning.”
“Our investment in this technology will assist UK businesses in exploiting a global market estimated to be worth up to £125 billion by 2020, creating jobs and cementing the UK’s position as Europe’s best place to innovate.”
“Today’s announcement is a massive boost for Wales’ burgeoning technology industry, putting it right at the vanguard of the high-tech revolution,” said Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb.
“It’s a huge vote of confidence in a sector that’s generating investment and jobs all over Wales.”
The announcement follows the Chancellor’s commitment in the spending review to increase funding for Catapults as a key component of British economic growth.
Catapult centres were established in 2011, bringing together business and researchers with the goal of assisting start-ups in bringing ideas to market that would otherwise fail due to a lack of funding, expertise, or facilities.
In the UK, there are nine other Catapults in operation, with a total public and private investment of more than £1.6 billion over their first five years of operation.
In response to the government’s strategic investment, additional capital facilities will be delivered over the next two to three years.
The catapult will need to be approved by the appropriate authorities.
During his visit, the Chancellor reaffirmed the UK government’s commitment to a Cardiff City Deal. In his speech, he expressed his desire to have the agreement signed by the time the Budget is presented in March.
Stephen Crabb added”Wales is on the rise,” Stephen Crabb added, “and the Chancellor has made it clear that he wants to see a Cardiff City deal secured as soon as possible.” The Welsh Government’s challenge now is to match that ambition in order to help Cardiff rise to the top tier of European capitals.”.”