AES Semigas


20 July 2023

CSA Catapult establishing presence in North East England, targeting telecoms, space and defence

As part of its plans to support industry across the UK, Compound Semiconductor Applications (CSA) Catapult is to move into an office in the North East of England, at North East Technology Park (NETPark) in Sedgefield, County Durham.

Established in 2017 by UK Government agency Innovate UK (which provides funding and support for business innovation as part of UK Research and Innovation), CSA Catapult is a not-for-profit organization focused on accelerating the adoption of compound semiconductors in three key areas (the road to Net Zero, future telecoms and intelligent sensing). Headquartered in Newport, South Wales, it works across the UK in a range of industry sectors, from automotive to medical, and from digital communications to aerospace.

Establishing a presence in the North East of England region should help CSA Catapult to deliver benefits to companies and research institutes that are actively involved in compound semiconductor technologies across a range of industries, from telecoms to satellites communications and defence.

The North East is home to the North East Advanced Material Electronics (NEAME) cluster, which has “a mission to highlight and promote the region as a centre of excellence for advanced compound semiconductor technology design and manufacture.” NEAME aims to raise the region’s profile and contribute £447m gross value-added by 2026, with the potential to create and support about 4500 jobs.

CSA Catapult North East will work with those companies to grow the cluster and bring new compound semiconductor-based technologies to market, building local and national supply chains along the way. It will also offer direct digital access to the prototyping capabilities in Newport, South Wales.

CSA Catapult will be co-locating with the Satellite Applications Catapult, with the two organizations already entering into a partnership agreement to help support the growth of the cluster. The office at NETPark is already home to a Space Enterprise Lab, which provides members of the space community with access to resources, virtual demonstrations and Catapult experts, as well as technology including touch screens, virtual reality (VR) headsets and conferencing facilities.

Managed by Business Durham (the Business Support Service for Durham County Council), NETPark is a UK science park that provides infrastructure, collaborative opportunities and support for science, engineering and technology companies at every stage from concept to commercialization.

CSA Catapult is already engaged in several projects in the region, helping to accelerate the development of new technologies through its testing capabilities and bringing companies together to build supply chains.

The £2.4m ORanGaN project, of which CSA Catapult is a partner, includes North East-based companies Inex Microtechnology Ltd and Viper RF Ltd and aims to develop a sovereign UK supply chain, manufacturing processes and packaging solutions for radio-frequency gallium nitride (RF-GaN) devices which are critical to 5G communications systems electronics hardware.

“By firmly establishing ourselves in the North East, our aim is to support the existing cluster of leading companies and research institutes by helping to build UK-wide supply chains and to encourage coordination and growth,” says CSA Catapult’s CEO Martin McHugh. “We look forward to working in tandem with NEAME and the Satellite Applications Catapult to raise the profile of the region and help support skills, jobs and growth. Through the wealth of compound semiconductor companies already operating in the region, the North East is already involved in world-leading innovation and we look forward to supporting this with the expertise and resources of CSA Catapult,” he adds.

“The North East, through its richness of organizations and skills, presents tremendous opportunities for space applications and compound semiconductor technologies,” comments Lucy Edge, chief operating officer at Satellite Applications Catapult. “Through this partnership the CSA Catapult and Satellite Applications Catapult will help leverage these by boosting industry collaboration, and bringing forward transformative solutions that will revolutionize major sectors like communications and defence,” she adds.

“This strategic move will not only bolster our region’s compound semiconductor ecosystem but also foster collaboration, innovation, and the growth of supply chains,” believes Business Durham’s managing director Sarah Slaven. “We look forward to working closely with CSA Catapult and supporting their efforts to elevate the North East’s profile as a centre of excellence for advanced compound semiconductor technologies,” she adds.

“The NEAME cluster is working together with all stakeholders to help address the opportunities and challenges for the companies in the region. We look forward to discussing how CSA Catapult might be able to support,” says a spokesperson for NEAME.

“Compound semiconductors are a critical part of a number of next-generation defence and security applications that Leonardo is working on, in the UK and with international partners. This includes photodetectors for advanced imaging, as well as novel communications and space research technologies,” notes Simon Harwood, UK capability & innovation director at Leonardo. “We are therefore extremely pleased to welcome CSA Catapult to the North East and look forward to working together to strengthen the cluster by driving investment and innovation, building strong links between the Catapult and our site in Newcastle and upskilling the workforce across the region.”

See related items:

New Space Enterprise Lab opens at CSA Catapult in South Wales

CSA Catapult and Cardiff University showcase high-performing GaN power amplifier for satcoms

CSA Catapult celebrates fifth anniversary

Tags: CSA Catapult


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