Science & Technology

Southampton Uni secures slice of £26.8m funding to help drive national semiconductor strategy

Saqib Bhatti (left), minister for tech and the digital economy, with Professor Graham Reed at the University of Southampton.

By Daniel Face [email protected]

Published: February 8, 2024 | Updated: 8th February 2024

The University of Southampton is poised to drive the future of semiconductor research after receiving major national funding.

University of Southampton logoSouthampton and Bristol were awarded a combined £26.8 million to lead two new Innovation and Knowledge Centres.

Together they’ll work to deliver on the ambitions of the government’s national semiconductor strategy, a 20-year plan to boost the UK’s strengths in the design, research and innovation of microchips.

Semiconductors are a key technology of the future, powering all manner of electrical items from mobiles and computers to healthcare equipment, transportation systems, and clean energy.

Professor Graham ReedProfessor Graham Reed is set to lead the £11 million CORNERSTONE facility at Southampton – the counterpart to Bristol’s REWIRE.

“The CORNERSTONE centre will unite leading UK entrepreneurs and researchers”, he said, “together with a network of support to improve the commercialisation of semiconductors and deliver a step-change in the silicon photonics industry.”

Professor Reed is also director of the university’s Optoelectronics Research Centre, where CORNERSTONE will be based.

It’s there that researchers will develop and look to commercialise silicon photonics technologies – silicon being the most common material in semiconductors.

Silicon photonics is already seeing use in data centres, with emerging applications in healthcare, environmental sensing, imaging and AI.

The CORNERSTONE centre will combine industry and research expertise to help translate these technologies from research labs into real-world industry.

Saqib BhattiSaqib Bhatti, minister for tech and the digital economy, added: “This investment marks a crucial step in advancing our ambitions for the semiconductor industry, with these centres helping bring new technologies to market in areas like net zero and AI, rooting them right here in the UK.

“Just nine months into delivering on the national semiconductor strategy, we’re already making rapid progress towards our goals.

“This isn’t just about fostering growth and creating high-skilled jobs, it’s about positioning the UK as a hub of global innovation, setting the stage for breakthroughs that have worldwide impact.”

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