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  • EU photonics industry pledges to boost economy

Jun 2012
Ashley N. Paddock,

BRUSSELS ­ — At the Photonics21 Annual Meeting held at the end of March, European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes announced her active support for creating a photonics public-private partnership (PPP) within the Horizon 2020 framework together with Photonics21, the platform of the European photonics industry. The PPP would ensure long-term investment security over 7 years and significantly affect the European job market with the creation of an additional 70,000 to 100,000 jobs.

"The public-private partnership [is a] major opportunity," Kroes said. "And that partnership, between the public funder and the industry, can drive innovation. With strong commitments from all the parties, we can really harness the power of photonics and get the most impact from all our resources.

"Photonics21 welcomes the ambitious Horizon 2020 proposal by the European Commission, with its approach for a real innovation-focused funding with positive impact on jobs and competitiveness and where public-private partnerships would generate a long-term budget security for the project's partners," said Martin Goetzeler, Photonics21 president.

 "Europe needs to face up to the challenges of a rapidly globalizing economy," said Dr. Zoran Stancic, deputy director-general of DG INFSO at the European Commission. "The photonics sector can unleash massive economic potential and help deliver the Digital Agenda for Europe. EU policies that support research, demonstration and application are crucial for spurring Europe"s competitiveness." Images courtesy of Photonics21.

 "Photonics is recognized as a critical strategic technology for a modern and technologically advanced Europe," said MEP Malcolm Harbour in a high-ranking panel discussion with representatives from the EU Commission and the European Parliament.

1. The branch of physics that deals with the use of electrical energy to create or manipulate light waves, generally by changing the refractive index of a light-propagating material; 2. Collectively, the devices used to affect the intersection of electrical energy and light. Compare with optoelectronics.
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