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Canada Invests in Photonics

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OTTAWA, Ontario, Jan. 28, 2007 -- The Ottawa photonics industry received a $22.3-million boost today from the Canadian government, which reconfirmed its support of the National Research Council's Ottawa-based photonics cluster initiative launched in 2002.

"Canada's private sector is dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises that are looking for partners to share risks and investment, allowing them to take full advantage of opportunities that could make them key international players," said Diane Ablonczy, secretary of state for small business and tourism. "Increasing the private sector's commitment to research and development is a cornerstone of our science and technology strategy released last May.''
Stakeholders in Ottawa’s photonics cluster join Diane Ablonczy on a tour of the National Research Council's Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre. From left: Pierre Coulombe, NRC president; Diane Ablonczy, secretary of state for small business and tourism; Steve Naor, CEO, Group IV Semiconductor; Samy Mahmoud, president and vice chancellor, Carleton University. Credit: National Research Council Canada

Ottawa is one of six NRC technology clusters. The others are Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies in Vancouver, Nanotechnology in Edmonton, Plants for Health and Wellness in Saskatoon, Biomedical Technologies in Winnipeg and Aluminum Transformation in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region.

Technology clusters are community partnerships among industry, academia and government which focuse on economic development through research and innovation. The NRC said its Ottawa-based photonics initiative has so far resulted in more startup companies (three of which recently raised more than $10 million in risk capital) and the relocation of part of a US-based firm to Ontario to take advantage of R&D tax credits and Ottawa's photonics cluster; new industry partners, who launched the Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre; and more research collaborations among industry, university-based researchers and NRC research teams on themes of national importance (energy, environment, health, etc.).

"The excellence of Ottawa's photonics cluster is rooted in a tradition of community cooperation, and our support will help maintain and build on the cluster's reputation as one of the world's top five photonics clusters," said Pierre Coulombe, PhD, president of the NRC. "Activities undertaken by NRC and its community partners have substantially reduced prototype development costs for Canadian firms, thereby reducing startup costs for local firms while increasing investments from the risk capital community."

In addition to NRC's six Western and Central Canada technology cluster initiatives, the organization also spearheads initiatives in Regina (sustainable infrastructure), Fredericton and Moncton (information technology and e-business), Halifax (life sciences), Charlottetown (nutrisciences and health) and St. John's (ocean technologies).

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Jan 2008
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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