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UK Photonics Group Elects New Leaders

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LONDON, May 10, 2013 — The Photonics Leadership Group (PLG), which includes members from more than 50 UK photonics manufacturers, associations and research institutes, elected a new chairman and chief executive on Thursday, a move it said would help maximize growth of a £10.5 billion UK industry with global impact.

Dr. Christopher Dorman, general manager of Coherent Scotland, is the new chairman; Dr. John Lincoln of Harlin Ltd. is chief executive. According to their LinkedIn pages, Dorman is chairman of the Scottish Optoelectronics Association, a visiting professor at the University of Strathclyde, Institute of Photonics, and a board member of the Technology Advisory Group at Scottish Enterprise. Lincoln, who founded the consultancy Harlin, serves as principal consultant, providing business development and network management in photonics, lasers and optoelectronics. He is also national outreach manager for the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Photonics, and network manager for the South of England Photonics Network.

At the London meeting, the PLG reiterated the importance of photonics in UK manufacturing, saying it directly employs more than 70,000 people in a €300 billion (about $389 billion) industry worth £10.5 billion (about $16 billion) to the UK economy and that it continues to grow 8 to 10 percent annually and is estimated to reach €550 billion by 2020. The value of that output currently translates to £49k (about $75,000) per employee, 40 percent higher than the UK manufacturing industry average.

The UK photonics industry also has a huge economic impact globally, because it exports about 75 percent of its output, and it will continue those contributions through both the direct manufacture of photonics devices and as a key enabling technology (KET), enabling photonics to be embedded in a wide range of end products that will increasingly provide solutions to the challenges of modern society from health care to advanced manufacturing, to security and communications, the group said.

The Technology Strategy Board cited photonics as a KET in November 2012 and acknowledged the significant investment of the EPSRC in photonics over many years.

Among its goals, the PLG specifically aims to:
  • Increase the UK's position from its current place as one of the top five photonics manufacturers and innovators globally,
  • Enhance a strong and competitive photonics supply chain from basic components to high-value integrated systems for applications from health care to defense and advanced manufacturing,
  • Provide a clear voice for the UK photonics industry emphasizing the value of photonics as an essential element in solutions to societal challenges and as a rapidly growing manufacturing industry driving significant economic growth,
  • Maximize new photonics innovation and its commercialization, strengthening UK industry to enhance exports and attract inward investment improving the competitiveness and growth of the UK economy,
  • Foster continuous strategic dialogue between the photonics industry, government, academia and support agencies in the UK and Europe to create an efficient environment for innovation and translation into manufacturing.

The PLG said it looks forward to working closely with Photonics21 and the new public-private partnership (PPP) in photonics being developed with the European Commission (See: Commitment to Photonics Public-Private Partnership Renewed). The group said it welcomes the recent strategic road map from Photonics21 and "will be further analyzing this for specific opportunities for UK industry in close collaboration with ESP KTN (Electronics Sensors Photonics Knowledge Transfer Network)."

More information on photonics as a key enabling technology is available here. Click here for the entire PLG statement.
May 2013
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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