13 Sep 2010
Following on from the Accord project, the component exchange scheme will promote co-operation between European SMEs and researchers.
The European Union (EU) has formally launched a project aiming to promote collaboration between photonics companies and researchers in Europe.
Co-ordinated by IMEC in Belgium, “NEXPRESSO” is a €0.9 million, three-year project, with €0.7 million of its funding provided via the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). It follows on from the “ACCORD” project, which supported 12 different projects and was regarded as highly successful.
Through ACCORD, pre-competitive photonic components and systems were put in the hands of researchers and students, at no net cost to the university or to the company that manufactured the prototypes.
As a result, students could be trained on the next generation of photonics technologies and products as identified by European industry. Under the follow-up NEXPRESSO project, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and university researchers will again be linked, this time to speed up the time it takes for new photonics devices to be commercialized, through targeted prototype development.
The key aims of the project, which goes under the full name of “Network for Exchange and Prototype Evaluation of photonics components and Optical systems”, and which issued its first call for components on August 15, include:
• Purchase at marginal cost of pre-competitive photonic devices from innovative European companies, to put in the hands of European researchers and students at no net cost to the university or to the company that produced the devices.
• Invite European universities and end-users to propose components and R&D projects.
• Facilitate transfer of device evaluation results to potential end-users, assisting companies to access new markets and new applications.
• Provide a detailed handbook and support to any funding authority who wishes to establish a similar programme.
Participation is NEXPRESSO is free of charge, with interested parties asked to register interest by becoming a project member through the project web site.
New FP7 projects
NEXPRESSO is one of a number of new photonics-related projects to have started up over the past couple of months with support through the 2009-2010 FP7 Information and Communications Technology (ICT) funding round. Photonics projects starting in September and October 2010 include:
ACTMOST (ACcess To Micro-Optics Expertise, Services and Technologies): Headed up by Hugo Thienpont at Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium (€1.84 million).
GALACTICO (blendinG diverse photonics And eLectronics on silicon for integrAted and fully funCTIonal COherent Tb Ethernet): Uwe George at IHP, Germany (€4.0 million).
IMPROV (Innovative Mid-infrared high Power source for resonant ablation of Organic based photovoltaic devices): Heike Grunert, Laser Zentrum Hannover, Germany (€3.6 million).
PARADIGM (Photonic Advanced Research And Development for Integrated Generic Manufacturing): Suzanne Udo, TU-Eindhoven, The Netherlands (€12.7 million).
POLYSYS (Direct 100G connectivity with optoelectronic POLYmer-InP integration for data center Systems): Hercules Avrampoulos, Institute of Communication and Computer Systems, Greece (€3.9 million).
RAPID (Robust, affordable photonic crystal sensors for point-of-care disease diagnostics): Conor Delaney, University College, Cork (€3.55 million).
SMARTFIBER (Miniaturised Structural Monitoring System with Autonomous Readout Micro-Technology and Fiber sensor network): Christine van Houtven, IMEC, Belgium (€4.0 million).
QCOALA (Quality Control of Aluminium Laser-welded Assemblies): Debbie McConnell, TWI, UK (€3.9 million).
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