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  • Photonics Industry Commits to $9.5B Investment in Europe
Sep 2011
DÜSSELDORF, Germany, Sept. 21, 2011 — Photonics21 has proposed a €7 billion (about $9.5 billion) public-private partnership (PPP) investment to deliver technology innovation and to cultivate future growth and job creation in Europe.

The proposal seeks to establish the PPP within the context of the forthcoming European Horizon 2020 program, which the European Commission will present before the end of the year. The proposal represents a total investment of €7 billion, of which €5.6 billion will be provided by the private sector and €1.4 billion by the European Commission.

“The proposed €7 billion 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, said Malcolm Harbour, member of the European Parliament. “It will be a major boost for the rollout of the Innovation Union.”

The aim of the PPP is to provide for a closer alignment between 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 for the sector.

Although the photonics industry in Europe is estimated to be worth nearly €60 billion, employing 300,000 people and acting as a key enabling technology (KET) for 20 to 30 percent of the European economy, there is still concern because many promising technologies do not make it through to commercialization.

“Photonic innovation in Europe tends to fall through the stage between successful science and pilot-scale industrial deployments, the latter being the stage at which jobs can start being created,” said Giorgio Anania, Photonics21 vice president and a member of the KET High Level Group.

The founding of the PPP is anticipated to address these concerns and bring 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 — both private and public — at European, national and regional levels.

The PPP will result in the creation of an additional 70,000 to 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 is to secure a long-term commitment from both the private and the public sector to invest in photonics research and innovation and thereby create jobs and economic growth in Europe,” Anania said.

Priorities for the PPP will include strengthening European industrial leadership, improving Europe’s innovation potential and competitiveness in photonics, and providing technological solutions to the major societal challenges facing Europe.

With more than 1800 representatives of photonics industry and science in Europe, Photonics21 was established as an industry-driven platform to unify the community in the area of optical technologies.

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The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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