Press release

Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult: Chair appointed

Businessman Kevin Crofton will head up the centre, which aims to accelerate the use of semiconductor devices in industry and academia.

Kevin Crofton joins the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult with a 25-year career in the semiconductor industry. He has executive experience in the UK and USA, currently acting as President of SPTS Technologies in South Wales, and Corporate Vice President of Orbotech Inc.

His experience and insight will be invaluable in establishing the Catapult within the rapidly growing compound semiconductor cluster in South Wales.

It is the 11th Catapult to be opened by Innovate UK.

The market opportunity for the UK

Compound semiconductors are at the heart of many devices we use today, from smart phones to tablets and satellite communication systems. They are central to the development of new technologies including:

  • 5G network
  • high-efficiency lighting
  • power electronics for next-generation electric vehicles
  • new imaging techniques in security and health diagnostics

Data from BCC Research and MarketsAndMarkets forecasts the global market for compound semiconductors to be in the range of £75 billion to £125 billion by 2025. There is a market opportunity for the UK due to its world-class research base in this field, which has led to the creation of many companies along the value chain.

Maximising business and research opportunities

Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Jo Johnson said:

The government’s investment in the Compound Semiconductor Application Catapult is testament to our track record as a leader in advanced electronics – a strength that we will build on through our Industrial Strategy to ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of innovation.

The appointment of Kevin Crofton as Chair and his wealth of industry experience will help drive this and continue the Catapult’s vital role in developing new technologies.

Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns said:

Much of the advance technology powering our mobile phones and other devices is being pioneered right here in Wales. The new research centre will underline our reputation as a world leader in semiconductors and, with Kevin Crofton at the head, put us in the front row of digital development.

Innovations like the Catapult will lead to the creation of more high skilled and high paid jobs in Wales.

Wales’ Minister for Skills and Science, Julie James added:

Science underpins innovation and technological developments and is essential for economic growth and creating high quality jobs in Wales. This is the first Catapult to be located in Wales and I welcome its arrival and the appointment of Kevin Crofton as its new Chair.

The Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult is a key pillar in the development of the world’s first compound semiconductor cluster, which recognises the industrial strength around the M4 corridor and the economic impact that this technology will bring.

Innovate UK Chief Executive Ruth McKernan said:

Kevin’s experience and expertise will spearhead the development of the new Catapult, and ensure we are maximising the business opportunities from the important compound semiconductors market.

Kevin Crofton added:

I look forward to helping to guide the Catapult’s vital contribution to the compound semiconductor industry in the UK.

We expect the Catapult to bridge some of the primary research, development and test challenges that exist in the UK compound semiconductor sector. This should help to accelerate innovation among existing businesses and to aid spin-out companies in their success.