EU funds photonics innovation hub ACTPHAST to create jobs

March 8, 2018
EU’s Horizon 2020 program is funding a project worth €10 million for job creation through the ACTPHAST project. 

The EU’s Horizon 2020 program is funding a project worth €10 million for job creation through the ACTPHAST (ACceleraTing PHotonics innovAtion for SMEs: a one STop-shop-incubator) project. The project is coordinated by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and will help SMEs become intelligent digital businesses by taking advantage of photonics-based technologies over the next 4 years.

The project aims to support over 100 new product innovations based on photonics by leveraging the research and investment spend of the companies involved by 2.8 times, generating over €700 million in increased company revenues and creating 750 new jobs across Europe.

ACTPHAST 4.0 provides companies that would not normally use optics or photonics in their products, as well as those that are already established within the photonics industry, with custom prototyping solutions, tailoring their new product innovation to fit in the digital economy. Target markets include the Internet of Things (IoT), Factories of the Future (FoF), Smart Cities, autonomous vehicles, and markets needing sensors, optical fibers, special lenses, LEDs, or quantum technology.

The project continues the work of its predecessor, 3.0, which supported more than 100 companies and created over 700 jobs since 2013 by providing light-based solutions to companies such as Holoxica, (medical hologram imaging), LazerSport (augmented reality bike helmets), and TOMRA (food sorting machines). Version 4.0 differs from its predecessor in that it is an incubator for the rapid prototyping of an already developed product concept, and offers parallel progression of financing and go-to-market planning.

The ACTPHAST 4.0 model is unique in a European context in that it is set up to provide a single entry point into a fully integrated prototyping supply chain across the broad spectrum of photonics technology platforms.

Project coordinator and managing director of the Brussels Photonics Team (BPHOT) at VUB, Hugo Thienpont says, “ACTPHAST 4.0 is a game-changer in revitalizing European manufacturing, and as one of the vital catalysts to the digitization of European industry. The coaching support services for SMEs we offer are a vital complementary action running alongside the deep innovation interventions. We make sure that the companies are fully ‘primed’ before, during, and after they engage with ACTPHAST 4.0 on projects related to their product so they can accelerate on all fronts towards commercial success.”

Source: ACTPHAST 4.0

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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