Microwave Journal
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‘Magnet for Innovation’ Opens For Business

TRH unites industry and science

July 5, 2022

Home to two leading research establishments—the Institute for Compound Semiconductors (ICS) and Cardiff Catalysis Institute (CCI)—the Translational Research Hub (TRH) is designed to foster collaboration.

Funded by U.K. and Welsh governments, TRH brings industrial partners alongside researchers to design, develop and test new cleaner, greener products and processes using TRH’s bespoke laboratories, offices, shared collaborative spaces, bespoke ERDF-funded cleanroom and state-of-the art microscopy suite.

The 129,000-sq-ft. research hub is the largest of its kind in Wales and exemplifies U.K. and Wales commitments to new collaborative scientific solutions to Net Zero. 

TRH has been supported by U.K. and Wales funders, including £17.3 million through UKRPIF, £12 million from Welsh Government, £13.1 million in European funding administered by WEFO, and £2.7 million from HEFCW. 

Science & Innovation Minister George Freeman said, "South Wales is home to the world's first compound semiconductor cluster based on the prowess and prestige of Cardiff’s chemical science research. This Translational Research Hub will bring together business and academia to help generate new technological solutions to tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges, from healthcare to energy. That’s why I’m hugely proud of the government’s investment which, from today, will help drive forward our Net Zero ambitions while boosting our efforts to establish the U.K. as a science and technology superpower.”

Wales Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said, “I am delighted this innovation centre of excellence is now open for business. The significant investment we’ve made in the centre will help bring some of the most brilliant minds in Welsh academia together to find and develop made-in-Wales solutions to the major problems facing Wales and the rest of the world.

“Developing ‘next-generation’ practices and technologies that will both shape our lives today and improve our experiences tomorrow will be crucial if we are to meet the climate emergency head on and build a greener, more sustainable economy.”

The TRH forms part of Cardiff University’s biggest campus upgrade for a generation—a £600 million investment in the University’s future, including sbarc|spark, the Centre for Student Life and the Abacws building.

Professor Rudolf Allemann, pro vice-chancellor, International and Student Recruitment and head of the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, said, “TRH is a magnet for innovation. Built with industry to support cutting edge research and to strengthen the University’s interaction with industry, it will support the U.K. and Wales economy by building partnerships that create new products and processes. Cardiff’s leading researchers will use these fantastic bespoke facilities to work with partners across exciting sectors including energy, advanced materials, transport, communication and healthcare creating pioneering new technologies, charting innovative research directions that lead to future funding proposals.”

Professor Peter Smowton, director, ICS, said, “We are delighted to support cutting edge research and industry partners in our bespoke new ‘Home of Innovation.’ As a founder member of the CSconnected cluster in South Wales, we play a pivotal role in developing new energy efficient technology and effective techniques for the mass production of compound semiconductors. CS technologies are at the heart of green transport—electric vehicles, energy efficient communications and so-called “smart” technologies.” 

Professor Duncan Wass, CCI, said, “TRH’s outstanding facilities will be vital to our work with industrial partners in fields such as the automotive, fuel and chemical manufacturing industries, helping to refine catalytic processes through conventional and innovative methods. With a range of collaborators, including BP and Johnson Matthey, TRH will help us fulfill our mission to create cleaner, greener catalysts.” 

Two new buildings sit alongside the TRH to help industry turn ideas in transformative industrial applications. A first-in-class ICS ERDF-funded cleanroom features the capability to trial, establish and scale new and innovative CS devices to an industrial standard on wafers up to 200 mm in diameter. And CCI’s bespoke Electron Microscopy Facility will deliver expertise and capability in nanomaterial imaging, analysis and characterization, facilitating new approaches to catalyst design and synthesis.

The realization of TRH has been made possible thanks to a range of project partners, including Bouygues UK, HOK and BDP.