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European Technology Platform Launched for Photonics

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BRUSSELS, Belgium, Dec. 2 -- More than 200 photonics industry representatives, researchers and policymakers from 16 European member states and 120 companies celebrated the launching of the European Technology Platform (ETP) Photonics21 in Brussels today, committing to actively contributing to a European research area for photonics.

Technology platforms play a major role in mobilizing Europe's research, technological development and innovation efforts. They bring together the key stakeholders (industry, national and European public authorities, the academic community, the financial community, consumers and users) around a common vision for the development of the specified technologies.

The Photonics21 platform aims to establish Europe as a leader in the development and deployment of photonics in five industrial areas: information and communication, lighting and displays, manufacturing, life science and security, as well as in education and training. Photonics21 is headed by the chairmen of internationally known photonics-based companies such as Jenoptik, Bookham, Trumpf Lasertechnology, Carl Zeiss, Philips Lighting and Sagem.

”We need to join forces at the European level to make full use of the potential photonics offers for Europe’s economy. Only a coordinated approach enables us to further improve the competitive advantage Europe has today and will need more than ever in the future. We are confident that our close dialogue and cooperation with the European Commission, and especially with Commissioner Viviane Reding, will lead to a strong focus on photonics in the upcoming Seventh Framework Programme,” explained Alexander von Witzleben, president of Photonics21 and CEO of Jenoptik AG.

The Seventh Framework Programme, adopted last April, concerns European cooperation and funding for scientific advances and leverages public and private investments in research. The Seventh Framework Programme runs from 2007 to 2013 and is part of a European Union goal to invest three percent of its gross domestic product in research by 2010.

European Commissioner for Information Society and Media Viviane Reding officially opened the Photonics21 workshop today, the second day of the two-day conference, where the participants laid the foundations for a common strategic research agenda.

“Photonics is one of the most important future industries for Europe. The benefit of photonics can only be fully exploited by international and European cooperation. Photonics21 is a first very important step towards a European leadership. With the technology platforms, the European Commission establishes a close cooperation, especially with industry, to ensure that research and development contribute effectively to an improved competitiveness of Europe,” stated Commissioner Reding.

Photonics21 was launched as a result of previous consultations between high-level representatives of the European photonics industry, Reding and European Commissioner for Research Janez Potoenik. The ETP is based on the vision document “Photonics for the 21st Century,” which was published last spring and which proposes a coordinated action plan to explore the future applications of light to create jobs and improve the standard of living in Europe.

Those involved say that, through a shared vision between industrial and public sectors, it will create the critical environment necessary for visionary and industrially relevant research and development in photonic components, systems and applications as part of the Seventh Framework Programme.

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Dec 2005
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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