Annual meeting of #next_photonics forum reveals impact of Photonics PPP

April 4, 2017
Three years into operation, the annual meeting of the Photonics PPP reflected the significant impact made by the organization.

Three years into operation, speakers at the annual meeting of the Photonics Public Private Partnership (Photonics PPP) heard reports reflecting the significant impact made by the organization, which is a partnership between Photonics21 and the EU Commission. The meeting, branded as, was held March 28-30, at Le Plaza Hotel in Brussels, and focused on the continued growth of the PPP, its creative ecosystem, and its plans to fulfill investment pledges ahead of Horizon 2020, the European research and innovation program.

Photonics21 Vice President Giorgio Anania, who is President and CEO of Aledia, showed spending on projects to exceed €277.9 million, with 335 industrial partners involved, with more than half the partners being small-to-medium enterprises ( SMEs). With the global photonics industry doubling from €228 billion in 2005 to €447 billion in 2015, Anania described how the industry had outstripped global GDP growth for the decade.

Giving an update on the latest Photonics PPP Impact Report and photonics market data, Anania outlined the potential of photonics for driving growth and jobs in Europe. He estimated approximately 42,000 newly created European jobs in the industry by the end of Horizon 2020.

Incoming Photonics21 president Aldo Kamper, who is CEO of Osram Opto Semiconductor, said the PPP was well-positioned to deliver on its pledges to quadruple the investment of the European Commission ahead of 2020, and added, “The challenge for us in the photonics community is to find the next big thing.” He noted, “More work needs to be done between the partners of the photonics community. We must look at the even bigger picture to see where photonics technology can contribute and reach out, outside of photonics.”

Khalil Rouhana, Deputy Director-General of the EU Commission Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content & Technology (DG CONNECT), emphasized the importance of the Digitizing European Industry initiative, and the creative ecosystem that the Photonics PPP enables. “This initiative ensures that any industry in Europe can not only benefit from digital innovation but can compete on a global scale, grow and create jobs,” Rouhana said.

This year’s Student Innovation Award was presented by Photonics21 executive board member Jaap Lombaers, who is managing director of the Holst Centre, and won by Lien Smeesters, PhD student and research assistant at Vrije Universiteit Brussels. Smeesters was applauded for her work on food safety, in particular the development of spectroscopic sensing techniques for the optical detection of carcinogens in food products as well as integrating this research into in-line industrial sorting machines. She received a certificate, trophy, and cash prize of €5000.

Background on Photonics21

Photonics21 was set up in December 2005 to bring the community of photonics researchers and industries together. The European Commission defined photonics as one of five European Key Enabling Technologies (KET's) in September 2009. Shortly after, the European Research & Innovation Program Horizon 2020 invited Photonics21 to become a Public Private Partnership (PPP). The "Photonics 21 Association", a legal entity under Belgium law, became the private contract partner in November 2013 in a PPP in conjunction with the EU Commission. Photonics21 represents more than 3000 personal members from across Europe and abroad.

Source: Photonics21

About the Author

Conard Holton | Editor at Large

Conard Holton has 25 years of science and technology editing and writing experience. He was formerly a staff member and consultant for government agencies such as the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the International Atomic Energy Agency, and engineering companies such as Bechtel. He joined Laser Focus World in 1997 as senior editor, becoming editor in chief of WDM Solutions, which he founded in 1999. In 2003 he joined Vision Systems Design as editor in chief, while continuing as contributing editor at Laser Focus World. Conard became editor in chief of Laser Focus World in August 2011, a role in which he served through August 2018. He then served as Editor at Large for Laser Focus World and Co-Chair of the Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar from August 2018 through January 2022. He received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, with additional studies at the Colorado School of Mines and Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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