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IQE

9 July 2015

IQE and Cardiff University establish JV to develop and commercialize compound semiconductor technologies in Europe

Epiwafer foundry and substrate maker IQE plc of Cardiff, Wales, UK has established a joint venture with Cardiff University to lead the development and commercialization of compound semiconductor technologies in Europe.

IQE says that establishing the JV is a key milestone towards the creation of a European CS cluster centred in Wales, which is increasingly seen as a strategic enabler for the UK and European electronics industries. Compound semiconductors are designated a Key Enabling Technology (KET) for the economic growth drivers identified in the European Commission's 'Horizon 2020' economic growth strategy, aimed at the re-industrialization of the EU. 

The JV will work closely with Cardiff University's Institute of Compound Semiconductors (ICS), which itself establishes CS research, development and innovation in Wales, with over £29m of funding from the Welsh and UK governments. The ICS forms part of Cardiff University's £300m investment in new research and innovation centres.

Collectively, the ICS, the JV and IQE's existing operations in Cardiff establish the core elements of a CS ecosystem in Wales to bridge early-stage research, product development, prototyping and pilot production, through to high-volume manufacturing. This clustering also aims to enable the region to continue to attract, develop and retain talent in the CS field, including research posts, industry placements, and graduate employment. Notably, Cardiff University recently announced the appointment of professor Huffaker from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) as Chair in Advanced Engineering and Materials. By working closely with the Alacrity Foundation, a unique entrepreneurs training camp, the National Software University, Cardiff University and other UK and European semiconductor companies, a complete range of KET skills development should be facilitated by the CS cluster.

The JV will be jointly owned and jointly controlled by Cardiff University and IQE. To establish the JV, IQE will contribute equipment with a market value of £12m, which will be matched by a £12m cash contribution from Cardiff University. IQE will also license certain intellectual property (IP) to the JV. The JV will be established effective from 1 August, which will create a non-cash exceptional gain of about £4.7m in IQE's accounts due to the difference between the book value and market value of the equipment contributed by IQE. Also on that date, IQE will receive and recognize revenue of £2m relating to the IP license.

Both partners see significant benefits accruing from the JV. Cardiff University will now have a route to commercialize the R&D to be carried out at the ICS, and aims to attract significant corporate and other R&D funding. IQE will be able to take the technologies developed at ICS and the JV directly into large-scale mass production.

"This JV with Cardiff University is a key step in creating the world's first compound semiconductor cluster, spanning the complete Technology Readiness Level (TRL) scale from basic research to full-scale production," comments IQE's chief executive Dr Drew Nelson. "Our goal is to build this cluster into one of global significance and scale, leading to widespread economic benefits for the region, and providing a broad range of CS technologies to support the rapid growth of the Key Enabling Technologies agendas, in Europe and throughout the rest of the world," he adds.

"The university's mission is to be consistently among the top 100 universities in the world and the top 20 in the UK," notes professor Colin Riordan, Cardiff University vice-chancellor. "Fundamental research is essential for sustaining academic growth, and for improving the health, wealth and well-being of society. Coupling IQE's infrastructure with Cardiff's existing strengths in expanding areas of semiconductor devices and materials will create cutting-edge opportunities that will put us ahead of our competitors," he adds.

"This new company will help create commercial opportunities from the excellent compound semiconductor research work going on at Cardiff University," comments Edwina Hart, the Welsh Government's Minister for Economy and Science. "Together with the appointment through our Sêr Cymru program of professor Diana Huffaker, a world-renowned expert in the field, Cardiff is now well placed to become a hub for compound semiconductor research and exploitation."

See related items:

Cardiff University recruits UCLA's Huffaker to lead new research lab

UK awards £17.3m for Cardiff University-based Compound Semiconductor Research Foundation

Cardiff University planning Research Institute for Compound Semiconductor Technology

Tags: IQE

Visit: www.cardiff.ac.uk

Visit: www.iqep.com

Visit: www.ee.ucla.edu/people/faculty/faculty-directory/diana-huffaker

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