Photonics industry presents a proposal for a Photonics Public Private Partnership (PPP)/ Overall investment volume of 7 Billion Euros in Europe by 2020 aims to boost economic growth and jobs.
On Wednesday (14 September), Photonics21 has announced its commitment to a proposed Public Private Partnership (PPP) with the European Commission in research and innovation in photonics. The proposal represents a total investment of 7 Billion Euros of which 5.6 Billion will be provided by the private sector and 1.4 Billion by the European Commission. The announcement was made at a Luncheon in the European Parliament in Strasbourg hosted by MEP Malcom Harbour.
Photonics are synonymous with a modern and technologically advanced Europe. The proposed 7 Billion Euro partnership between Photonics21 and the European Commission would represent a substantial contribution by this sector towards future growth and job creation, and significantly assist the EU’s continued economic recovery. It will be a major boost for the roll out of the Innovation Union", MEP Malcolm Harbour (ECR).
The PPP was proposed by Photonics21 following an invitation to do so by European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes at its Annual meeting in February 2011. The proposal seeks to establish the PPP within the context of the forthcoming European Horizon 2020 programme, which the Commission will present before the end of the year. The aim of the PPP is to provide for a closer alignment of industrial, scientific and public strategies within the photonics sector. By significantly improving the transition from scientific discovery to real world applications the partnership would ensure the fullest exploitation of the economic and employment potential of this sector. Giorgio Anania, Photonics21 Vice President and member of the KET High Level Group, states that "given the magnitude of the gains such an alignment may realise, this proposal represents a significant contribution by the photonics industry towards the improved growth and competitiveness of the EU".
Key enabling technologies (KETs)
Due to its high innovation potential and its immense contribution to European industrial leadership photonics has been defined as one of only six key enabling technologies (KETs) at European level. The Photonics industry in Europe is worth € 58.5 billion (21 % of the world market) and employs about 300,000 people across 5000 companies. A recently issued study of the European Commission estimates that today already 20-30% of the European economy and 10% of the European workforce depends on photonics as a key enabling technology.
However, like many other sectors the potential of the photonics industry is currently limited by the so called "Valley of Death" in the innovation value chain. Giorgio Anania states that "photonic innovation in Europe tends to fall through in the stage between successful science and pilot scale industrial deployments, the latter being the stage at which jobs can start being created."
The founding of a Photonics PPP would address these concerns and brings to fruition the recommendation of the recently published KET High Level Group report which calls for forward-driven and long-term strategies involving all stakeholders – private and public – at European, national and regional levels. By building and strengthening bridges between scientific excellence and innovative production the PPP will result in the creation of an additional 70,000 – 100,000 jobs in the photonics industry leveraged to 350,000 to 600,000 new jobs for European industry overall. "What we expect from such a PPP", Anania said, "is to secure a long-term commitment from both the private and the public sector to investing in photonics research and innovation and thereby creating jobs and economic growth in Europe."
In a letter to Photoncis21, European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes, responsible commissioner for the "Digital Agenda" stated her support for a Photonics PPP: "I value the strong commitment from the photonics industry to creating economic growth and jobs in Europe, as well as the proposed four-fold leveraging of the initial public funding and the monitoring of its impact through key performance indicators. I appreciate in particular the clear emphasis on addressing the full research and innovation chain from materials to pilot actions. I conclude that the necessary ingredients are in place to justify the creation of a PPP in Photonics."
Priorities of the Photonics PPP
- Strengthening European industrial leadership
- Improving Europe’s innovation potential and competitiveness in photonics
- Providing technology solutions to the major societal challenges facing Europe
Application of Photonics
The impact of a Photonics PPP would be profound and wide reaching. Examples of targeted technology development areas where wide impact is expected include:
- The development of a future ultra-high speed communication networks with multi-terabit capacity as backbone for web 2.0 & 3.0 products & internet of things nurturing radically new IT services and business models.
- New laser-based manufacturing processes will allow mass customisation, rapid manufacturing and zero-fault production and ensure competitive manufacturing in Europe.
- New real-time medical photonic diagnostics and new laser-based therapeutic treatments, moving from cost-intensive treatment to early detection and prevention
- The transition from incumbent lighting technology to low-energy consuming Solid-State Lighting technology, using LEDs, OLEDs, sensors and microprocessor intelligence.
- The realisation of ‘energy-positive’ buildings using organic PV generation devices and digital lighting control systems integrated within the building structure itself.
- Advanced photonic sensing and imaging that enable higher levels of security and safety.
For more information please go to www.photonics21.org and http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/ict/key_technologies/kets_high_level_group_en.htm
In December 2005 the European Technology Platform "Photonics21" was set up as an industry driven platform to unify the community in the area of optical technologies. Today, more than 1,800 representatives of industry and science from most European countries are involved in it. Leading companies and research units have joined together to further advance Europe’s position in optical technologies. Photonics experts from industry and research are working in seven teams to develop research priorities and recommended procedures for the European Commission as well as strategies and issues to promote European cooperation.
In September 2009, the European Commission defined photonics as one of five European Key Enabling Technologies (KET’s). In January 2010 the second Photonics21 Strategic Research Agenda "Lighting the way ahead" was published defining research priorities and the photonics strategy forward. The recent publications "Photonics – Our Vision for a Key Enabling Technology"and "The leverage effect of Photonics Technologies" look into the contribution photonics has – and will have in the course of the next ten years - on the key societal challenges of Europe.
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