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First Horizon 2020 Photonics Projects Open

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The European Commission presented on Wednesday its first calls for projects under the Horizon 2020 program, the European Union's seven-year, €80 billion research and innovation program. Those calls include €47 million specifically earmarked for photonics-related proposals.

Horizon 2020 will be worth more than €15 billion over its first two years, and the funding is intended to help boost the European economy and tackle social issues. The 12 "action" areas for 2014 and 2015 include personalized health care, digital security and smart cities.

"It's time to get down to business," said European Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn. "Horizon 2020 funding is vital for the future of research and innovation in Europe, and will contribute to growth, jobs and a better quality of life. We have designed Horizon 2020 to produce results, and we have slashed red tape to make it easier to participate. So I am calling on researchers, universities, businesses including SMEs, and others to sign up!"

Photonic technologies will play a role in each of the three major program areas: excellence in science, which will receive approximately €3 billion in funding; industrial leadership, for which €1.8 billion has been earmarked to support Europe's industrial leadership in areas such as ICT (information and communication technologies), nanotechnologies, advanced manufacturing, robotics, biotechnologies and space; and societal challenges, where €2.8 billion will be allocated for innovative projects addressing broad issues such as health; agriculture, maritime and bioeconomy; energy; transportation; climate, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials; reflective societies; and security.

The first photonics calls published Wednesday are under the LEIT (Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies) ICT Work Programme 2014.

ICT 26 call Photonics KET (Key Enabling Technologies) has a dedicated budget of €47 million for project proposals on:
  • 1. Research & Innovation: The €28 million budget will fund application-driven core photonic technological developments, with special focus on biophotonics for disease screening (mobile, low-cost, point-of-care screening devices for fast, non- or minimally invasive disease detection); on sensing for safety and civil security (breakthrough advances in cost-effective, high-performance, multiband optoelectronic devices for infrared sensing applications); and on disruptive sensing approaches (e.g., based on quantum optics or quantum technologies, plasmonics, metamaterials or nonconventional wavefront shaping).
  • 2. Innovation Actions: With a budget of €8 million, this segment will seek proposals on open-system architectures (hardware and software level) for solid-state-based intelligent lighting systems.
  • 3. Coordination and Support Actions: Its €5 million budget will provide funds for strategic coordination and networking of national and regional photonics activities, including EU-wide outreach promoting photonics to students, entrepreneurs and the general public.
  • 4. ERA-NET Cofund Action: The remaining €6 million will fund a call for proposals on a photonics-related topic of strategic interest, to be co-funded by national and regional grant programs.

    Other photonics-related programs that opened to proposals this week and that will award funds in 2014 are Topic ICT 29, which, with a budget of €18 million, calls for the development of novel materials and systems for OLED lighting; and the PPP (Public-Private Partnership) Factories of the Future, which has a budget in the range of €10-15 million for research and innovation activities on zero-failure laser-based manufacturing as well as for concepts and road map building supporting smart and safe work spaces for laser-based manufacturing.

    The 2014 LEIT FoF (Factories of the Future) call will close March 20, while the 2014 LEIT ICT call will close April 23.

    For more information, visit: or 

Feb 2014
machine vision
Interpretation of an image of an object or scene through the use of optical noncontact sensing mechanisms for the purpose of obtaining information and/or controlling machines or processes.
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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