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European body to support photonics

13 Dec 2005

Photonics 21 was launched this month in Brussels as the latest in a series of European technology platforms.

Europe has a new body championing the cause of photonics thanks to the creation of 'Photonics 21'. More than 200 experts from 16 European member states and 120 companies celebrated the launching event earlier this month in Brussels.

Photonics 21 is one example of the European commission's new 'technology platforms', which aim to improve the competitiveness of European R&D by exploiting the close relationship between industry and academia. The photonics platform joins those already established in areas such as steel, software, micro electronics and healthcare.

"What this means is that for the first time photonics is recognised as a strategic technology for European industry," said Tom Pearsall, General Secretary of EPIC. "The objective is to capture European advantages in technology and turn it to a commercial advantage for manufacturing."

Photonics 21 is headed by the chairman of well known European optics companies such as Jenoptik, Bookham, TRUMPF Lasertechnology, Carl Zeiss, Philips Lighting and SAGEM. It undertakes to establish Europe as a leader in the development and deployment of photonics in five key areas: information and communication, lighting and displays, manufacturing, life science and security.

It features a strategic research agenda for the European photonics community that promises to make sure that photonics plays an important role in the upcoming 7th framework program. The platform is based on a report called 'Photonics for the 21st Century' which was published in spring.


Oliver Graydon is editor of Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

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