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  • European Groups Launch Photonics4All Program
May 2015
KARLSRUHE, Germany, May 7, 2015 — A two-year program funded by the European Commission aims to raise awareness of the importance of photonics and make the field accessible to the general public, business and industry.

Photonics4All will involve ten partner organizations from nine European countries, coordinated by Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum, an economic development organization in Germany. The program coincides with the UN-declared International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies.

OptecNet Germany EV, a business association, will offer photonics innovation workshops, set up an innovation board and organize a startup challenge. Another planned Photonics4All event is a Photonics Science Slam.

Schoolchildren attend a photonics outreach event at the Big Bang Fair in March. Courtesy of the University of Southampton.

For young people and students, there will be a photonics quiz, a photonics smartphone app, business boot camps, and a Schools Photonics Day aimed at promoting the study of physics and optics. 

"It's very exciting to be working on this innovative project and to be able to learn from partners throughout Europe," said Pearl John, public engagement leader for physics and astronomy at the University of Southampton, another Photonics4All partner. "I am particularly interested in promoting women in photonics, and it's great to play such an important role in getting the message out across the EU to ensure that we really are promoting Photonics4All."

The university will collaborate with the South East Photonics Network (SEPNET), which aims to address the skills shortage in the photonics industry in the Southeast region of England. Schools and colleges will be able to take part in hands-on activities to teach students about the crucial roles photonics play in everyday life and inspire them to study it further. University students will also be encouraged to consider ways in which they can use photonics in business.

"We aim to increase awareness of the local photonics industries, help leverage our collective knowledge and uncover more photonics applications, making it easier for organizations to develop new products and access this key enabling technology," John said.

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