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Photonics Partnership to Combat EU Economic Crisis

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BRUSSELS, March 30, 2012 — At the Photonics21 annual meeting on March 28, European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes announced her support in creating a photonics public-private partnership (PPP) to combat the economic crisis in Europe, and to secure Europe's leading position in the photonics industry.

"A public-private partnership in photonics, based on a serious commitment from industry, will help to unlock Europe’s innovation potential and bring to market products that will shape our future world and our future economy," Kroes said.

Martin Goetzeler, president of Photonics21, addresses politicians and industry leaders at the Photonics21 conference in Brussels. (Photos: Photonics21)

The priorities of the photonics PPP are strengthening European industrial leadership, improving Europe's innovation potential and competitiveness in photonics, and providing technology-based solutions to the crises Europe is facing. It will be created within the Horizon 2020 framework, together with Photonics21, the platform of the European photonics industry. Horizon 2020 is the EU's new program for research and innovation as part of the drive to create new growth and jobs. It will run from 2014-20 and have an €80 billion budget.

The European photonics industry is showing its agreement by committing to a fourfold leverage of public funding, which will result in a total investment of €7 billion ($9 billion) and offer an additional 70,000 to 100,000 high-level jobs in the photonics industry over the next seven years. This should create 350,000 to 600,000 industry jobs overall.

Malcolm Harbour, member of the European Parliament, expresses his support of a photonics public-private partnership at a high-ranking panel discussion.

“Photonics are recognized as a critical strategic technology for a modern and technologically advanced Europe. The proposed seven-billion-euro partnership between Photonics21 and the European Commission would have a substantial impact on future growth and job creation, and significantly assist the EU’s continued economic recovery. It will be a major boost for the Innovation Union," said Malcolm Harbour, a member of the European Parliament.

A photonics PPP would target specific technologies to develop and innovate. The PPP's goals include developing an ultrahigh-speed communication infrastructure, new laser fabrication processes, improved photonics-based medicine, a transition from traditional lighting technology to more green, lower-impact systems using advances in sensor technology, and the development of organic PV-generating devices.

Martin Goetzeler (right). Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice President, announces her active support toward creating a photonics public-private partnership.

"Photonics innovation in Europe tends to fall through in the stage between successful science and pilot-scale industrial deployments," said Martin Goetzeler, outgoing president of Photonics21. “To strengthen Europe’s innovation capacity and capture the full benefit of Europe’s industry base, we need to avoid mistakes of the past and ensure the creation of an environment that nurtures innovation and covers the entire value chain, from the breakthrough in research through to the development of products.”

The European photonics industry is worth €58.5 billion (about $77.6 billion) and employs 300,000 people across the continent.

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Mar 2012
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...
BelgiumBrusselsBusinessConsumerEuropeEuropean Unionfiber opticsgreen photonicsHorizon 2020imagingindustrialjobslight sourcesMalcolm HarbourMartin GoetzelerNeelie Kroesopticsphotonicsphotonics PPPPhotonics Public Private PartnershipPhotonics21Sensors & Detectorslasers

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