Photonics rides high in Europe

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM-In December 2005 around 200 experts from 16 European member states and 120 companies gathered in Brussels at the launch of the European Technology Platform (TP) called “Photonics21” (see www.laserfocusworld.com/articles/245125).

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM-In December 2005 around 200 experts from 16 European member states and 120 companies gathered in Brussels at the launch of the European Technology Platform (TP) called “Photonics21” (see www.laserfocusworld.com/articles/245125). One year on, the number of platform members has doubled and the meeting to mark the first anniversary, also held in Brussels, heard that the TP had already had quite an impact on the European Commission (EC).

The Photonics TP was set up to provide a strong focus on photonics in the new Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), the European Union’s chief means of funding scientific research and technological development. FP7 takes over from FP6 at the beginning of 2007 and runs until 2013.

As a result of the TP’s work, photonics has been given a firm place in FP7. The EC has committed to create a new unit dedicated to photonics at the beginning of 2007, and will increase funding for photonics by more than 40% ($120 million) in the years 2007-08. Photonics21 members had already announced that they would be increasing their own research spending by $435 million per year.

The new unit will be headed by Thierry van der Pyl, who commented at the annual meeting, “I would like to see that private public partnership works in research. We will take on the challenge that is not only a matter between the EU and the research stakeholders, but also concerns the member states. A comprehensive strategy in Europe is the key.”

Members of Photonics21 have elected Alexander von Witzleben-chairman of the executive board of JENOPTIK AG-as the TP’s president. At the meeting he said, “We are very pleased with the results of our work so far. The boost being given to the area by the EU represents a large step forward, in view of the ongoing process of structural change, and will allow photonics-related topics to become firmly anchored in the 7th Framework Program. The first essential foundations have been laid, namely a photonics community at European level and the appropriate funding resources. The next step is to make use of this newly established basis in order to achieve our planned objectives on a reasonable time scale.”

Members of the executive board of Photonics21 have been taken from leading European companies such as Trumpf Laser and Electronics Division, Bookham Technology plc, Sagem Défense Sécurité, Philips Lighting B.V., and Carl Zeiss AG.

-Bridget Marx


IPG share price soars after IPO

OXFORD, MA-After IPG Photonics announced the pricing of its initial public offering of 9 million shares of common stock at $16.50 per share (see www.laserfocusworld.com/articles/279683), Reuters reported later in the day that IPG rose as much as 56 percent to $25.70 as investors were attracted by its revenue growth and increased applications for its products. IPG sold 6.2 million shares, while selling stockholders, including Chairman and CEO Valentin Gapontsev and members of the board, sold about 2.8 million shares.

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