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Ireland's IPIC contributes to future of photonics with €4 million SPARKLE program

10 Mar 2020

Training and development program taking place at Cork's Tyndall Institute to help create future photonics leaders.

The Irish Photonic Integration Centre (IPIC), headquartered in Cork, has developed an €4 million training and development program for future photonics leaders called SPARKLE. This initiative has the aims of sharpening Ireland’s competitive edge in the $0.5 trillion global photonics industry and creating jobs across a variety of sectors.

Hosted at Tyndall Institute, the SPARKLE program is intended to help develop new skills for photonics researchers across Ireland and the EU, including fabrication, entrepreneurship and leadership.

The stated aim is “to encourage the development of new disruptive technologies and drive their use across numerous sectors. For example, light guided surgical tools that improve patient outcome, microLED displays with pixels less than 1/10th the width of a human hair, and optical communications devices that enable global communications using less energy.”

Launched at IPIC’s recent Annual Industry Day, this initiative is co-funded by the prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions program (EU) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), representing an investment of over €4M.

Training and development

The SPARKLE program will train 27 Research Fellows and provide them with invaluable breadth of experience and education, covering not only advanced training in a cutting-edge research environment, but also a six-month industry placement with a global technology leader or rapidly growing SME.

This unique programme also includes participation in IPIC’s comprehensive and diverse skill building initiatives, including prototype development and fabrication; commercialisation; communication and dissemination; leadership; research funding; and project and time management. Fellows will build networks with industrial and academic leaders from across the global and be embedded in a culture of diversity, diversity of thought and people.

Dr Patrick Morrissey, Sparkle Co-ordinator and IPIC Centre Manager said, “The global photonics industry is growing at a CAGR of over 7%, creating opportunities for existing and new companies. At IPIC we aim to capture a share of this growth by building Ireland as a leading international photonics cluster, enabled through world-beating technology and researcher leaders trained by Sparkle.”

Professor Paul Townsend, Director at IPIC, commented,“IPIC is one of a network of SFI Research Centres focused on Ireland’s national priority research areas. Photonics is one of these, and we are committed to addressing the skills shortage in the field of photonics by fostering a new generation of experienced, innovative and multi-talented researchers to lead photonics into the future.”

SPARKLE is open to applicants of any nationality or residency who meet the Mobility Eligibility Criteria and have not lived or worked in the Republic of Ireland for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the deadline date of the open call. The closing date for the first open call is 30 April, 2020.

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