Semiconductor industry receives R&D and Skills boost

DSIT announces new funding for semiconductor “Knowledge and Innovation Centre's”

Yesterday, two cutting edge semiconductor research sites each received £11 million funding support. 

Bristol and Southampton University facilities will each receive £11 million from UKRI to boost research in Compound Semiconductors and Silicon Photonics. Support for these research hubs includes access to essential infrastructure for prototyping new designs. Commercializing this technology will also be a focus, with spinouts receiving skills workshops and introductions to key industry stakeholders. 

Southampton's Cornerstone facility specializes in Silicon Photonics. This emerging semiconductor technology uses light instead of electrical currents to communicate information, allowing for far quicker execution speeds. 

The REWIRE facility focuses on another UK strength, compound semiconductors. Based at the University of Bristol, this research will support chip companies in the South West and Wales, with semiconductor materials that can operate at much higher temperatures and voltages. This specialization makes them fantastic for use in Electric Vehicles and radio frequency management for 5G. 

Furthermore, an additional £4.8 million will back 11 semiconductor skill projects across the UK. These include schools, higher education and training, to promote the sector and equip workers with the relevant skills. 

This comes in the context of last May’s National Semiconductor Strategy, which pledged £200 million into the industry across 2023-25, and up to £1 billion this decade. This plan aimed to focus on UK strengths, namely Compound Semiconductors, R&D and IP and Design. 


Ahead of publication of this strategy, in January 2023, techUK published our UK Plan for Chips, outlining a five-step plan to turbocharge the semiconductor industry. Key to these recommendations was plugging the skills gap, including with more engagement with universities. Whilst more investment in skills is needed to meet the growing demands, this is a fantastic step in the right direction. We also asked to ensure access to markets and private capital, which this support for semiconductor commercialization and spinouts begins to address. 

techUK welcomes this announcement from UK Government as a positive step towards building skills and R&D infrastructure for semiconductors. However, we look forward to working with UK Government on actioning further recommendations from the National Strategy. Research and Development was identified in the national strategy as one of the UK’s top three strengths, including recommendations around growing the domestic sector and protecting supply chains. 

Want to know more about why Semiconductors are so essential to the future? 

What the challenges facing the industry, and how we can replicate the success of clusters in South Wales? 

Join us on March 4th alongside Ruth Jones MP and industry experts, in the first event of our Semiconductor Programme to hear firsthand all you need to know about this foundational future technology. 

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