Traditionally the economy of Wales has been based on the coal and steel industries. Recently, Wales has elected its own National Assembly and together with the Welsh Development Agency (WDA) and through a Regional Technology Plan, has prioritized the creation and development of a knowledge based economy. The culture of Wales has always placed emphasis on education and for a small nation, has a University sector with an excellent reputation for advanced research. The WDA and the University of Wales Swansea came together to establish Technium, which is an unique concept designed to bridge the gap between advanced University research and commercial exploitation. Technium was co-funded by the WDA and the European Regional Development Fund. The project is seen as the first phase of creating a network of sector specific Techniums across the country, all linked via state of the art telecomm-infrastructure to University centers of research excellence. This paper will describe two case studies, both in the Optics/Photonics field, of research centers being established in Technium by blue chip international companies. Those companies having located in Technium specifically because of the links to high quality university research. One company is Agilent Technologies Inc. (USA) a global leader in Optoelectronic components. The second company, ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc, design and develop optical devices to be used in conjunction with pharmaceuticals for the treatment of a range of diseases. Working closely with the WDA and the University of Wales Swansea, these and other companies will pursue product development, sponsor postgraduate research and generate intellectual capital that will benefit the company, students and the region alike.