The South Wales-based Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult has announced the appointment of four of the UK’s leading experts in the field to its non-executive board of directors.
They include Dr Trevor Cross, group chief technology officer of Teledyne e2v; Stephen Duffy, commercial director of Optocap; Jonathan Lyle, chief executive of Dstl; and Dr Wyn Meredith, director of the Cardiff-based Compound Semiconductor Centre (CSC).
The Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult is the 11th of Government agency Innovate UK’s Catapults, which comprise a network of centers where UK businesses, scientists and engineers work side by side on late-stage R&D, with the aim of transforming high-potential ideas in specific areas into new products and services (helping to drive future economic growth).
The Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult was announced in early 2016, backed by government funding of £50m (£10m per year up to 2020-21) and spearheaded by epiwafer foundry and substrate maker IQE plc of Cardiff, Wales, UK and Cardiff University. Its aim is to support industry’s ability to access and exploit the advances made by UK researchers in compound semiconductor technologies over the past two decades, and to bridge the gap between companies developing novel semiconductor materials, topologies and devices, and those developing systems for end-user applications. Key to this is the Catapult’s work to ensure that the advances resulting from UK R&D successfully translate into real-world commercial applications. This will be facilitated via translational research facilities that will work to accelerate the commercialization of compound semiconductors in key application areas including: healthcare, the digital economy, energy, transport, defence and security, and space.
“Today’s appointments represent a crucial step in establishing a world-class facility to help commercialize compound semiconductor technology in the UK,” comments Kevin Crofton, chairman of the Catapult. Operating ‘post foundry’, the Catapult complements other investments within South Wales, including the Institute for Compound Semiconductors (ICS) at Cardiff University (which involves about £80m investment) and the Compound Semiconductor Centre (CSC), a £40m joint venture formed in August between IQE and Cardiff University (focused on technology translation of research and design in compound semiconductor materials and devices). The Catapult is a member of CS-Connected – the South Wales compound semiconductor cluster.
“Integral to its success is the intention to create an environment that accelerates product development, drawing on the UK’s leading-edge research, to address a growing global market,” says Crofton. “Each member of our board brings with them an in-depth understanding of the UK’s R&D activity as well as the specific needs of the end-user markets we seek to target,” he adds. “The level of insight and experience brought by the newest members of our board will be invaluable in developing effective routes for commercialization.”
The newest members of the Catapult board represent a cross section of the UK’s leading academic and commercial compound semiconductor industry.
As the group chief technology officer of Teledyne e2v, Cross has over 30 years of commercial experience, including more than ten years at board level. A former council member of the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC), he played a pivotal role in e2v’s university engagement programs. He was also previously chair of the Technology Strategy Board (TSB)-led Electronics, Sensors and Photonics KTN (Knowledge Transfer Network) and currently chairs Innovate UK’s Special Interest Group in Quantum Technologies.
Meredith is an expert advisor to the UKs Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Cardiff University Department of Physics, The UK National III-V Centre, and provides executive-level advisory services to numerous small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in semiconductor technology.
Duffy is commercial director (and, from this June, CEO) of Optocap Ltd, which offers contract semiconductor package design and assembly services. He was co-owner of Optocap Ltd and a key part of the management team that purchased it from Scottish Enterprise, and later sold it to German multi-national TUV NORD. Duffy now sits on the Executive Management Committee of TUV NORD’s Aerospace business unit.
Finally, bringing relevant experience from the public sector, Lyle is chief executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), a UK government agency that works closely with companies and universities to harness innovative science and technology for the defence and security of the UK. He is Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE) and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and has held senior roles in the Ministry of Defence (MOD).