New Innovation Hub to Provide Open-Access Support to European Researchers

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ACTPHAST for Researchers (ACTPHAST 4R), a new EU innovation hub specializing in the deployment of cutting-edge photonics technologies, will give researchers in academic institutes throughout Europe the chance to turn their breakthrough scientific concepts into industrially relevant demonstrators. ACTPHAST 4R will support 800 European researchers over the next four years, providing them with open access to expert coaching in the accelerated development and deployment of photonics from its panel of 200 top photonics experts. ACTPHAST 4R expects to choose at least 100 of the researchers to receive further deep innovation project support to build their demonstrators.

For the first time, researchers will be offered support to ensure seamless progression from early-stage breakthroughs to advanced prototypes and eventual industrial use.

With 24 of Europe’s top photonics competence centers, ACTPHAST 4R plans to become a “one-stop shop” of advanced photonics resources, made available to a variety of researchers, while creating 50 high-tech jobs in new spinout companies over the next four years.

Hugo Thienpont, project coordinator and managing director of the Brussels Photonics Team at VUB, believes the new ACTPHAST 4R program will “greatly strengthen the European innovation ecosystem.”

“We will open up access to advanced prototyping platforms for researchers and tackle critical roadblocks at the early stage TRL levels in the bridge between fundamental and applied research,” Thienpont said. “Through this facility, we will create new opportunities to deliver advanced photonics technologies and sustainable growth across all European regions.”

The new facility will provide a full supply chain of services such as design, measurement, and packaging, with transnational internships and expertise from Europe’s leading photonics research institutes.

“All of the ACTPHAST 4R services are made available in a subsidized format for collaborating on photonics innovation projects,” Thienpont said. “With an average incubation time of six months per project, we expect that ACTPHAST 4R will accelerate the development of new applications, enterprises and jobs, and the diffusion of innovation for the betterment of society in Europe and beyond.”

Published: November 2019
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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