By Kristy Dorsey

Heriot-Watt University has signed a US collaboration deal to help boost the semiconductor industry in Scotland.

The agreement with the UK arm of Silicon Catalyst will give Scottish-based start-ups access to equipment and services to scale up operations in the semiconductor sector, which has clocked up 30 per cent growth globally this past year.

Launched in the UK in June, Silicon Catalyst has a network of 50 “in kind” partners and more than 200 expert advisors. It provides access to design tools, simulation software, testing, banking and legal services to help bring down the cost of developing silicon-based sensors and microelectromechanical systems.

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The collaboration will build on the existing work of the university’s £19 million Global Research Innovation and Discovery (GRID) facility, which focuses on commercialising academic research.

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

Since it was founded in California in 2014, Silicon Catalyst has admitted 40 companies from around the world to its 24-month incubation programme. Its network also includes more than 300 venture capital, angel and corporate investors.