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Report Highlights Resilience Of CS Cluster

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Economic baseline report from Welsh Economy Research Unit at Cardiff University focuses on contribution of the CSconnected consortia during 2020

A new report has been published that examines economic activity in Wales and the impact of the CSconnected compound semiconductor community. The report is published by the Welsh Economy Research Unit at Cardiff University and focuses on the contribution to the economy by the CSconnected consortia during 2020.

The report finds that in the final quarter of 2020, CSconnected firms and organisations accounted for an estimated 1,407 jobs, with private sector partners accounting for around £440m of sales, much of which (over 90 percent) related to overseas exports, mostly destined for markets outside of the EU.

Employment within the compound semiconductor cluster has been stable in the challenging economic conditions during the global pandemic, and with output largely maintained at a time when there has been a 9.9 percent contraction in UK economic activity in 2020, the largest annual contraction on record.

Prospects in the Cluster for 2021-22 are good, with increased vacancies and positive sentiment prevailing on business conditions. In order to meet growth expectations, CSconnected in partnership with Cardiff University has launched a co-ordinated mid-term skills development activity which will scale in line with Cluster growth from 2021 to 2025.

The Welsh economy benefited from a contribution to GVA from CSconnected firms and organisations, estimated at £121.3m during 2020. Productivity in the Cluster is one of its strongest points. In 2020 it is estimated that average GVA per employee in the Cluster was around £86,000 which is over double the Welsh average.

The report suggests that once account is taken of the role of the Cluster in supporting local suppliers and household incomes, that the economic contribution of the Cluster to Wales grows to around £172m and with around 2,100 full time equivalent jobs supported.

The report concludes that the resilience of the CSconnected community activity through the 2019-2020 period was very marked and with the Cluster already showing excellent prospects for further employment and GVA growth in 2021-22.

Chris Meadows, director of CSconnected Ltd said: “UKRIs Strength in Places programme has provided the CSconnected community in South Wales with a unique opportunity to align world-class academic research and core supply elements such as capital equipment and device packaging based in the region. The project will accelerate Wales' unique capability to be centre stage at the forefront of new and emerging technologies. CSconnected aims to bring high value-add manufacturing back to UK and create significant jobs growth over the coming years.”

Max Munday, one of the report authors said: “The development of the compound semiconductor cluster is important for long term economic prospects for the regional economy. Critically, there is an evolving industry ecosystem in Wales that embraces the private sector firms, institutions and higher/further education colleges. The UKRI Strength in Places support is going to provide new opportunities to better embed cluster activity in the regional economy.”

The report may be viewed at CSconnected.com

The report was written by Max Munday, Annette Roberts and Robert Huggins, Cardiff University and builds on their previous work developed to support the Strength in Places (SIP) Fund application process in 2019 (link: Support for Strength in Places bid: accelerating the growth and persistence of Europe's fifth semiconductor cluster).

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