Ireland Launches Photonics Initiative
CORK, Ireland — The Irish government has announced a new national technology initiative to mobilize the country's photonics industry and grow its economy.
Called Photonics Ireland, the platform will deliver a suite of research and innovation actions for greater investment in startups and small- to medium-sized enterprises, focusing on technology, incubation and training. It will be coordinated by the Irish Photonic Integration Center (IPIC).
The program will create access to research, technology, outreach and workforce training to meet the needs of Ireland's high-tech sectors. Engagement will also be fostered with similar platforms across Europe, developing partnerships with international photonics companies and universities.
The initiative was announced by Damien English, Ireland's minister for skills, research and innovation, during the opening night of the Photonics Ireland 2015 conference. English and others cited the industry's current and projected market strength as a reason for the platform’s launch.
More than 300,000 people work in the photonics industry in Europe, and the global market is estimated to be worth €350 billion (about $391 billion), according to Paul Townsend, chairman of the Photonics Ireland conference and director of IPIC.
Townsend also noted international photonics efforts, including a $600 million national integrated photonics manufacturing center recently announced in the U.S.
"Photonics is one of globe's most important future industries and an area in which Ireland can flourish," English said. "By harnessing the strength of the Irish photonics community through this national technology platform, we can significantly maximize Ireland's position as world leader in this field.
"This platform is a leading example of how Irish research bodies and industry can come together to define a common strategy and identify and execute activities which will drive job creation and develop technologies that will significantly improve all our day-to-day lives."
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