Heriot-Watt University tie-up to power Scottish chip start-ups

A collaboration between Heriot-Watt University and a tech incubator is expected to deliver a boost to Scotland’s semiconductor industry.

The tie-up between the Edinburgh-based institution and SiliconCatalyst.UK will drive the development and launch of companies utilising next-generation chip technologies.

Aspiring semiconductor ventures will be offered help to transform into viable scale-ups.

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Heriot-Watt will tap into the expertise within its Global Research Innovation and Discovery facility (GRID), while SiliconCatalyst is billed as the world’s only incubator focused exclusively on accelerating semiconductor hardware start-up and scale-ups. It is said to have created a “rich ecosystem” of 50 partners and more than 200 “expert executive advisors” to help start-ups take the next step forward.

Heriot-Watt University’s heritage is rooted in industry and international collaboration, delivering education and innovation through knowledge transfer, commercialisation, and partnership. Through its Global Research Innovation and Discovery facility (GRID), Heriot-Watt is focused on commercialising high-impact research that delivers economic and social value.

Professor Steve McLaughlin, incoming deputy principal research and impact, Heriot-Watt University, said: “In 2021, Heriot-Watt University is celebrating the 200th anniversary of its founding in Scotland. Now a global institution, the university has renowned strengths in the practical application of specialist research and a wealth of knowledge and expertise across quantum optics, semiconductor physics, material science, nonlinear photonics and the industrial application of photonics.

“I look forward to collaborating with SiliconCatalyst.UK, propelling impactful research initiatives and accelerating commercialisation to strengthen and ensure the continued growth of the semiconductor industry.”

David Richardson, chief entrepreneurial executive, Heriot-Watt, said: “GRID offers bespoke support to ambitious scale-ups developing solutions to global challenges.

“The partnership with SiliconCatalyst.UK emphasises our commitment to the development of a global ecosystem by building on our specialisms and applying these to catalyse new collaborations, investment and jobs.”

Sean Redmond, managing partner, SiliconCatalyst.UK, added: “Semiconductor start-up opportunities have changed dramatically over the last few years. We have entered a period of semiconductor industry hyper-scale, having just experienced annual industry growth of 30 per cent. Never has so much demand been created by so few new innovations.

“Scotland has a rich tradition of successful global semiconductor success. The silicon glen is very much alive and bubbling with new semiconductor ideas and inventions to create the next wave of fabulous disruptive semiconductor start-ups.”

The Global Research Innovation and Discovery building is a £19 million ground-breaking facility designed to advance global research, innovation, and discovery.

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