Microelectronics and Photonics

High Tech Cluster

The Heart of the South West is blessed with a cluster of hi-tech businesses focussing on R&D, product design and manufacturing in photonics and microelectronics. The cluster is centred around Torbay, which has a reputation as one of the most important locations in the UK for advanced electronics knowledge and expertise. The Torbay High Tech Cluster aims to support the growth of this technology industry across the region and to ensure that the skills demands of industry are met through collaborations with academic partners with our Universities and FE Colleges.


The Electronics and Photonics Innovation Centre (EPIC) in Torbay has purpose-built labs and offices with unrivalled technical capability to support R&D, Design and New Product Development. EPIC’s capability includes a Classified Cleanroom and fully-equipped Prototyping Suite, providing access to over £2.5m of equipment to increase production capacity and grow the technical capability of businesses.

High Potential Opportunity

The Department for International Trade has awarded the Heart of the South West a High Potential Opportunity (HPO) for Photonics and Microelectronics. This highlights the unique strengths offered in the Heart of South West  to integrate the critical light and electronics based solutions demanded by the global connected and autonomous vehicles industry across land, sea and air.


Industry recommendations for interventions supporting photonics and microelectronics sector growth in the South West


Microelectronics and Photonics in HotSW

This report was commissioned to identify what makes the area's electronics and photonics sector unique; how it is distinguished from other regions in the UK (and Europe) and where it is similar.

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    David Ralph

    Chief Executive

    David Ralph started as Chief Executive of Heart of South West LEP at the beginning of June 2018. Previously, he had spent 5 years as CEO of the Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire (D2N2) LEP from 2013 where he oversaw the development of the D2N2 Strategic Economic Plan and sector strategies, 3 Growth Deals with HM Government to deliver a £1billion capital investment programme, securing and implementing £200m ESIF programme, the Derby and Nottingham Enterprise Zone, the D2N2 Skills Deal and Time for Innovation programme, community fund and led the executive team to develop the HS2 East Midlands hub. He was also closely involved in the proposed North Midlands Devolution Deal and one of the key architects in establishing the Midlands Engine, chairing the officer steering group. Whilst in this role David was a NED of the Nottingham Enterprise Zone, and Marketing NG, the Outer Estates Foundation and a Governor of Nottingham College and on the advisory Board of Nottingham Business School.

    Before the East Midlands, David was CEO of the Have Gateway Partnership working closely with local stakeholders including the ports of Felixstowe, Harwich and Ipswich and BT Adadastral Park across Suffolk and Essex and prior to that was Chief Exec of the Barton Hill New Deal for Communities programme in Bristol and the Nelm Development Trust in Norwich.

    David is a keen sailor, walker and trail runner.