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CSA Catapult and SMD Semi sign MoU


Agreement lays foundations for collaborations in chip design and manufacturing between the UK and Malaysia

The UK's Compound Semiconductor Applications (CSA) Catapult and the Malaysian company SMD Semiconductor have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in the House of Commons in London.

The MoU lays the foundation for CSA Catapult and SMD Semiconductor to work together in the design, prototyping and manufacturing of next-generation semiconductor and compound semiconductor chips in the automotive and space industries.

The MoU also signals the intent of SMD to establish an office in the UK to enable the co-creation of ideas and product development, whilst also working with academia, industry and government in the UK and Sarawak, Malaysia to develop a pipeline of talent.

The MoU was exchanged during AI and Semiconductor Summit held in the House of Commons and attended by members of the Sarawak government, UK and Welsh governments, SMD Semiconductor and CSA Catapult.

The event was hosted by Stephen Metcalfe MP in collaboration with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence and Big Innovation Centre. A keynote address was given by Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy, Saqib Bhatti MP.

At the event, representatives from the UK and Sarawak discussed opportunities in areas of mutual strategic importance and ways to encourage future collaborations in the development of next-generation semiconductor technology.

SMD Semiconductor is a wholly owned entity of the Sarawak Government established in September 2022 under the Sarawak Research and Development Council Ordinance, 2017.

It focuses is on advanced technological research and development, with an emphasis on chip design and the development of integrated circuit products.

Established by Innovate UK in 2018, CSA Catapult is the UK’s authority on compound semiconductor applications and commercialisation. 

With labs and offices across the UK, CSA Catapult is a centre of excellence with state-of-the-art equipment that specialises in the measurement, characterisation, integration and validation of compound semiconductor technology across four areas—power electronics, advanced packaging, radio frequency (RF) and microwave communications, and photonics. 

Martin McHugh, CEO at CSA Catapult said: “We’re absolutely delighted to sign this MoU with SMD Semiconductor today and to kick-start a partnership that will allow us to explore new opportunities to develop next-generation technology for critical industries such as automotive and space.

“The partnership will allow us to call on each other’s strengths in the design, prototyping and manufacturing of semiconductor and compound semiconductor technologies to enable new concepts, ideas and products.

“The MoU also represents a significant landmark for both the UK and Sarawak. By entering into agreements such as this, we are championing international partnerships and helping the UK increase its cooperation with close partners to help build resilience in our supply chains.”

Shariman Jamil, CEO at SMD Semiconductor, stated that SMD Semiconductor is recognising the immense potential of compound semiconductor technology and investing heavily in its development and commercialisation as it is crucial for SMD to stay ahead in a fast-changing market.

“By harnessing the unique properties of compound semiconductors, we aim to unlock new frontiers in performance, efficiency, and functionality across a wide range of applications,” he said.

“I am excited to announce that SMD is doubling down on its investment in compound semiconductor technology, recognising its potential to drive innovation, accelerate growth, and create lasting value for our customers and stakeholders. Together, let us embark on this journey of discovery and transformation, as we chart a course toward a brighter, more connected future.”

Birgitte Andersen, CEO of Big Innovation Centre, said: “Semiconductors and chips are the hardware driving force of our time. They can unlock AI possibilities and spearhead smart infrastructure development to tackle our productivity and sustainability challenges head-on. From revolutionising energy optimisation to reshaping our interaction with the environment and each other, semiconductors play a pivotal role. Yet, realising their complete potential demands relentless research and development, and global collaboration.”

Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy, Saqib Bhatti said: "Semiconductors are the backbone of our economy, underpinning our national security and driving advancements in technologies of the future.

“This partnership between CSA Catapult and SMD Semiconductor will catalyse the development of cutting-edge semiconductors, which are essential for our automotive and space industries. As a result, it will not only help fortify our supply of this critical technology, but also drive innovation and economic growth in both of our nations."

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