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Ireland Backs Photonics for Economic Impact

CORK, Ireland, Jan. 27, 2014 — The newly opened Irish Photonic Integration Centre, focused on information and communications technology, and on the medical device sector, is expected to create 200 new jobs over the next six years and bring global scientific recognition to Ireland.

Development efforts will focus on improving data transfer speeds, creating new energy-efficient devices, and delivering medical components for disease diagnostics and treatments.

One of seven centers in the country, IPIC will bring together researchers from Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork, Cork Institute of Technology and Dublin City University. The Irish government has invested €20 million (about $27.46 million) in the center, adding to the €10 million (about $13.73 million) investment made by commercial partners.

“The launch of IPIC represents an exciting new chapter in photonic research in Ireland, which aims to achieve both measurable economic impact and global scientific recognition,” said professor Paul Townsend of Tyndall Institute, who will head the center.

Targeting the information and communications technology, and the medical devices sectors primarily, IPIC aims to develop and commercialize generations of miniaturized photonic technologies.

“IPIC will be uniquely placed to drive new advances in photonic science and technology and to harness these innovations to solve some of the key challenges facing our industry partners,” Townsend said.

The researchers will work with industry partners ranging from multinationals such as Intel, BT and Verizon to photonics specialists including Finisar, and with smaller Irish companies and high-tech startups. Among newly added industry partners are the Cork-based X-Celeprint – a company looking to commercialize a microtransfer printing process that could enable mounting optoelectronic materials and devices such as LEDs and lasers on flexible substrates – and Stryker Corp. of Kalamazoo, Mich.

“[IPIC] is an excellent example of the kind of collaboration between industry and academia that we will continue to encourage: excellent science with impact,” said Mark Ferguson, director general of Science Foundation Ireland and chief scientific adviser to the Irish government.

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