Compound Semiconductor Catapult on its first five years

Compound Semiconductor Catapult on its first five years

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The Compound Semiconductor Applications (CSA) Catapult in the UK is celebrating its five-year anniversary with the publication of an overview of its impact as it looks for a new chair.

The review highlights £14m of collaborative research and development projects into devices and systems using compound materials such as Gallium nritride (GaN) with £177m of direct investment and creating or safeguarding over 5000 jobs across the UK. 

The CSA Catapult was set up in 2018 to have a key role in the UK’s compound semiconductor ecosystem in power, photonics, RF and packaging. The Innovation Centre in Newport, South Wales, offers ‘innovation as a service’ in the four areas. This has led to 180 collaborations with industrial partners, including major names such as BMW and McLaren Applied.

“I am very proud of CSA Catapult’s achievements in its first five years,” said Rob Bryan, Interim Chair of CSA Catapult. He replaced founding chair Kevin Crofton of local semiconductor equipment maker Orbotech (formerly SPTS) who moved to become CEO of the Comet Group in Switzerland at the end of 2020.

Last year a partnership with Siemens on joint projects led to the Siemens Power Electronics Innovation Hub now permanently located in Centre.  

The CSA Catapult has also developed a skills programme, starting in schools, and extending right through to postgraduate-level and the workplace through its Skills Academy to develop the next generation of compound semiconductor technologies. 


In the next five years, CSA Catapult aims to grow technology clusters and local supply chains across the UK, creating a network of regional support hubs in areas of significant national strength and importance, including quantum sensing, healthcare, defence and space. 

This will create more prototypes, building on experience in automotive power electronics technologies to address new market opportunities.  

“It plays a central convening role in building growth of supply chains working with industry. The Catapult must continue to grow academic collaborations; create new opportunities to work with industry; accelerate commercial scale-up; safeguard intellectual property; identify new international partners to address new and emerging markets. Upskilling a new generation is critical and I am particularly proud of our Skills Academy.  

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank my predecessor, our first Chair,, for his inspirational leadership during the Catapult’s first years. He led us from start-up to become the leading neutral convener as well as the major commercial partner in the UK research and development ecosystem.”  

“CSA Catapult is at the heart of the flourishing UK compound semiconductor ecosystem. We work with academia and industry to accelerate increasing product development, testing and evaluation. We will identify significant new domestic and international markets and end-to-end supply chains. In the next five years, we will support industry and supply chains and clusters, extending our footprint and contributing to the UK Government’s levelling up agenda,” said Martin McHugh, CEO of the Catapult.

The Catapult has worked in 84 collaborations with universities and research institutes on 51 research & development (R&D) projects, as well as 180 collaborations with industrial partners and 10 international partners.

Internal analysis shows that 44% of the companies who had worked with CSA Catapult secured public sector funding because of their direct or indirect engagement and are more than twice as likely to get private investment (36% vs 16%).


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