Press release

Chancellor pledges £50m for ground-breaking new innovation centre in Wales

Stephen Crabb: "Investment is a huge vote of confidence in the sector in Wales"

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George Osborne

Leading British businesses, engineers and experts will come together in a new national innovation centre in Wales focussed on compound semiconductors, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced today bringing vital investment and jobs to the area.

On a visit to Cardiff University ahead of a major speech on the UK and welsh economies, Mr Osborne announced further plans to put science and innovation at the heart of economic growth with the creation of a new ‘Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult’, funded by £10m per year of government investment up to 2020.

The new Catapult will be based in Wales, with the specific location and founding members to be confirmed in due course.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said:

Backing cutting edge science and innovation is at the heart of our long term plan to support Welsh people at every stage of their lives. That is why I am today announcing £50m of new funding for a national semiconductor innovation centre, to bring together leading scientists and businesses to one hub in Wales.

The investment we are announcing today will ensure that Wales continues to be a world leader in science and innovation, and create vital new jobs in the area.

Universities and Science Minister, Jo Johnson said:

This new Compound Semiconductor Catapult recognises Wales’ reputation as a leader in advanced electronics. Bringing together academics and businesses to develop new technologies will support areas of our daily lives from the next generation 5G mobile network to improving scanning at airport security.

Our investment in this technology will help UK businesses exploit a global market estimated to be worth up to £125bn by 2020, creating jobs and cementing the UK’s position as the best place in Europe to innovate.

Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb said:

Today’s announcement is a massive boost for Wales’ burgeoning technology industry, putting it right at the vanguard of the high-tech revolution.

It is a huge vote of confidence in a sector that is generating investment and supporting jobs right across Wales.

The news follows the Chancellor’s commitment in the spending review to increase funding for Catapults as a key part of economic growth in Britain.

Catapult centres were launched in 2011, bringing together business with researchers with the aim of helping start-ups bring ideas to market that might otherwise struggle because of a lack of funding, expertise or facilities.

There are nine other Catapults up and running in the UK with total public and private investment exceeding £1.6 billion over their first five years of operation.

Additional capital facilities are being delivered over the next two to three years in response to strategic investment by the government.

The catapult will be subject to relevant approval.

During the visit, the Chancellor also reaffirmed the UK government’s commitment to a City Deal for Cardiff. In his speech, he signalled his ambition to see the deal signed by the time of the Budget in March.

Stephen Crabb added:

“Wales is on the up and the Chancellor has made clear he wants to see a Cardiff City deal secured as soon as possible. The challenge for the Welsh Government now is to match that ambition to help Cardiff take its place in the premier league of European capitals.”

Read the Chancellor’s speech to Cardiff Business Club in full here

Published 7 January 2016