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European photonics research wins € millions of funding

17 Mar 2016

EC invests €30m to speed access to market of 15 innovative technologies - including 5 based on photonics.

One third of the newly funded innovation projects depend on photonics.

One third of the newly funded innovation projects depend on photonics.

A range of European photonics-related research and development projects are to benefit from the investment of several million euros, newly announced by the European Commission. The photonics projects range across: railway safety techniqes; a laser–based system to treat glaucoma, a novel type of highly-integrated optical sensor; and intelligent sensor-enabled “smart” eyewear.

These are among 15 newly-announced projects which are to receive €31 million funding to speed market access for a wide range of new technologies. The source of the money is the third round of the Fast Track to Innovation scheme. The selected projects involve 68 partners in 16 countries.

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, commented, “Through Horizon 2020, we want to give innovative businesses the support they need to fast-track their innovations to market. These latest results bring the total investment to nearly €100 million in fast-access EU funding for close-to-the-market innovation activities."

Photonics focus

The photonics-related projects are as follows:

  • AutoScan – “Rail inspection by autonomous systems”; value €1,518,000 Project coordinator is Imoss NV, with partners Nomad Tech LDA, Automatitzacio de Processos i Mediambient SL; TWI Ltd (UK); and the University of Birmingham, UK.
  • GLAUrious – “An External Automatic Glaucoma Laser (EAGLE) for the first-line glaucoma treatment’; value €2,480,000 . The project is intended to develop and validate a commercial prototype development and validation. The coordinator is Belkin Laser with partners Frankfurt Laser, Queen’s University Belfast, and University of Genoa, Italy.
  • HIOS – Highly Integrated Optoelectronic Sensor; value €3 million. The coordinator is AMS AG, with partners Bühler Alzenau; Boschmann Technologies BV; and Advanced Packaging Center BV.
  • I-SEE – Intelligent Sensor Enabled Eyewear; value €2,590,000. Coordinator is Luxottica Group Spa; Fondazione Centro San Raffaele; Sigma Connectivity AB; Alten Nederland BV; and Ernst & Young Financial Business Advisors spa.
  • WheelWatcher – Advanced wheel measuring system for greater rail sector’s profitability; value €2.1 million. Coordinator is Danobat with partners: Dr. Neumann Peltier-Technik; ProPhotonix (UK), Euskotrenbideak-Ferrocarriles Vascos S.A.; and Ideko.

Fast Track to Innovation

Launched in 2015, the third round of the Fast track to Innovation scheme attracted 403 projects proposals involving 1700 participants. Almost half of the project participants are SMEs. The Fast track to Innovation scheme promotes mature innovative concepts that have already been tested. Supported innovation activities include systems validation in real working conditions, testing piloting, validation of business models and standard setting and pre-normative research.

With a budget of €200 million the scheme runs until the end of 2016 and supports any topic under the "Societal Challenges" and "Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies" pillar of Horizon 2020. Proposals can be submitted at any time through one continuously open call. The next cut-off dates for applications are 15 March, 1 June and 25 October 2016.

About the Author

Matthew Peach is a contributing editor to optics.org.

LASEROPTIK GmbHIridian Spectral TechnologiesCHROMA TECHNOLOGY CORP.CeNing Optics Co LtdTRIOPTICS GmbHLaCroix Precision OpticsHyperion Optics
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