The SW Microelectronics iNet is a 3 year program that started on the 1st July 2010. Backed by a consortium of universities, companies and representative bodies, this £2.3M European Project serves the Microelectronics, Photonics and Digital Communications subsectors; the associated system integrators and the upstream and downstream supply chain. The aim is to create an effective arena for innovation by providing networking activities, supporting new company and new product development, and assisting with transitional phases during company growth.
The iNet forms part of a long term vision to strengthen the globally recognised Microelectronics sector in the South West.
The Silicon South West provides regular networking events, news and national and international promotion for the region’s microelectronics cluster. Over 100 companies connected to the microelectronics sector are concentrated in a region which includes the key towns & cities of: Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth, Southampton & Swindon and home to one of the biggest silicon design clusters anywhere in the world outside Silicon Valley.
In the last decade, start-ups in the South West have attracted more than $550 million in investment and returned more than $800 million to shareholders. The cluster has also attracted high levels of investment from world-class research organisations including HP Labs, Motorola, Panasonic, ST Microelectronics and Toshiba Telecoms Research Europe and the Universities of Bath and Bristol. 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.
This skills pool owes its origins to Inmos in Bristol and GEC-Plessey Semiconductor in Swindon. These two organisations 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.