Silicon SouthWest

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Our collaborative Partner in the UK is the SiliconSouthwest network. (http://www.siliconsouthwest.co.uk).

SiliconSouthwest provides regular networking events, news, and national and international promotions of the Southwest of England’s microelectronics industry.

SiliconSouthWest is managed by Bath Ventures. Beth Ventures brings together the Technology Transfer, Consultancy and Innovation Centre teams under the University of Bath’s Director of Finance and is focused on commercializing the results of the University’s research.

Bath Ventures is also responsible for managing the University’s Seed Fund and its relationships with its funding partner, the IP Group and the SetSquared Partnership with the universities of Bristol, Southampton and Surrey. 

The South West is home to the UK’s largest concentration of silicon designers, second only to the USA. It is estimated that this cluster is 50% bigger than the next largest, which is in Cambridge. Silicon design companies located here enjoy the advantage of a supportive ecosystem and, importantly, a highly skilled and experienced workforce. This skills pool owes its origins to Inmos in Bristol and GEC-Plessey Semiconductor in Swindon. These two organizations effectively trained a generation of silicon designers and while the enterprises themselves have since changed beyond recognition, the individual designers have remained at the forefront of developments, particularly in the key areas of RF, video, multicore processor and reconfigurable components as well as wireless, telecoms and networking system design.

Today, the cluster consists of around 50 companies which directly employ some 5,000 people. A feature of the cluster is its active start-up culture and these companies have raised around £250million of venture capital in recent years. The cluster has also attracted high levels of inward investment from HP Labs, Motorola, Panasonic, ST Microelectronics and ToshibaTelecoms Research Europe all of which have substantial R&D sites in the region. Additionally other international electronics companies such as Intel, Broadcom and Infineon each have a significant presence in the region, while semiconductor design companies such as Wolfson and Dialog Semiconductors have set-up design centres in the South West in order to tap into the local skills.