Through this competition, businesses in the UK can apply for funding to undertake technical feasibility studies that will encourage the commercial use of compound semiconductors.
IUK has allocated up to £4 million to fund innovative research and development projects in this competition. IUK expects projects to range in size from total costs of £50,000 to £500,000.
- Stream 1: Projects with eligible costs of up to £100,000 can be single or collaborative.
- Stream 2: Projects with eligible costs over £100,000 and up to £500,000 must be collaborative.
Through this competition Innovate UK (IUK) is focusing on compound semiconductors, which are at the heart of many devices in use today, including smartphones, tablets and satellite communication systems. Compound semiconductors offer improved performance for applications that currently use silicon-based semiconductors. They open up new application areas that silicon-based semiconductors cannot. But there are technical and business risks across the supply chain. So the development and adoption of new compound semiconductor devices is often held back.
Since 2000, the UK has invested close to £750 million in the research of compound semiconductor materials and the application of semiconductor devices. According to IUK, the global market for compound semiconductors is forecast to grow rapidly to around £125 billion by 2025.
IUK is now investing up to £4 million in innovative projects that help to speed up the use of compound semiconductors. This is in areas such as power electronics, RF/microwave, photonics and sensors. The aim of the competition is to ensure that UK businesses can respond to market opportunities in compound semiconductors and IUK is seeking proposals with large and scalable commercial potential. The competition will address some of the technical challenges. This is so that businesses can exploit the superior performance of compound semiconductors.
In this competition IUK is not funding projects that involve only silicon-based semiconductor material.
A UK-based business must lead the project. It must:
- be a UK-registered business of any size
- carry out the project in the UK
IUK expects projects to focus on technical feasibility studies. It will also accept elements of industrial research. This will depend on the challenge. For technical feasibility studies and industrial research, applicants could get:
- up to 70% of eligible project costs for a small business
- up to 60% for a medium-sized business
- up to 50% for a large business
Projects must involve a compound semiconductor material with a scalable market application. Examples of compound semiconductors include: GaAs, GaN, InP, SiC and HgCdTe (gallium arsenide, gallium nitride, indium phosphide, silicon carbide and mercury cadmium telluride).
IUK is particularly interested in projects that address one or more of the following:
- Thermal management technologies for compound semiconductor packaging, such as multi-phase fluidics.
- Materials and techniques that enable a significant improvement in device performance. Examples include operating speed, temperature, voltage, current, or light intensity.
- Rapid prototyping techniques, such as additive manufacturing using polymers or ceramics, for advanced packaging or printed die interconnects.
- Simulation and modelling techniques, such as multi-scale or multi-physics at device or sub-system level, to speed up verification and validation, and reduce development cycles.
- Novel adhesion technologies to join dissimilar materials, such as graphene-loaded epoxy.
- Approaches to combine multi-mode devices. Examples include integrating photonic with RF devices or photonic with high-voltage devices.
- Approaches to create hybrid combinations of silicon die with compound semiconductor die.
- Techniques to enable rapid alignment and assembly. These will help to automate more of the supply chain and improve productivity.
- Automated or semi-automated test methodologies for power electronic, RF/microwave, photonics or sensor applications.
- Projects that lead to a significant reduction in cost across the supply chain.
- The competition opened on 18 July 2016.
- Applicants had to register by noon on 19 October 2016.
- The deadline for full applications was noon on 26 October 2016.
Link to guidelines:
To apply, interested parties should register and apply on the programme webpage.
Further advice and assistance with submitting an application may be sought directly from IUK.