More than 40 U.K. companies will take part in a photonics manufacturing research center to be led by the University of Southampton. Production of an optical fiber on a silica lathe. Courtesy of the University of Southampton. The Future Photonics Hub will provide national leadership in manufacturing for next-generation photonics technologies for applications in defense and security, communications, space, semiconductor manufacturing and health care. "We know from experience the astonishing range of innovative ideas that emerge when scientists and engineers think about manufacturing," said Sir David Payne, ORC director and lead professor for the Future Photonics Hub. "The key is to work with industry to understand the opportunity not only to improve existing manufacturing methods but to develop entirely new ways of making things." The U.K. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) will provide £10 million (about $15.1 million) over seven years for the project. Soutampton and the University Sheffield will provide an additional £3 million. Photonics is a £10 billion industry in the U.K., and supports another £600 billion worth of U.K. manufacturing, according to the EPSRC.