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Information & Communication Technologies

Photonics & Organic Electronics

Photonics21 Technology Platform

Photonics21 was founded in December 2005, based on an industry-led initiative encouraged by the European Commission in 2004.

Photonics21 membership Nov 2008 Photonics 21 brings together the key stakeholders in Europe in the area of Photonics. There are over 1400 members from 49 countires and together they represent the entire photonics sector, including industrialists, researchers, academics and policy makers. The purpose of Photonics is to simulate greater and more effective investment in research and development, to accelerate innovation and to eliminate barriers to the deployment and growth of new Photonic technologies.

The aim is to establish Europe as a leader in the development and deployment of Photonics in five industrial areas:

  1. Information and Communication,
  2. Manufacturing,
  3. Life Sciences,
  4. Lighting and DIsplays,
  5. Metrology and Security,
as well as in Education and Training.
Photonics21 working groups
Through a vision shared with industrial and public actors, it will create the critical mass necessary for visionary and industrially relevant R&D in photonic components, systems and applications. One of the main tools for creating this shared vision is the Strategic Research Agenda, presenting medium to long term objectives for R&D in Photonics.

The activities of Photonics21 are organised according to Working Groups. These are: WG1-Information and Communication; WG2-Industrial Manufacturing and Quality; WG3-Life Science and Health; WG4-Lighting and Displays; WG5-Security, Metrology and Sensors; WG6-Components and Systems; WG7-Research Education and Training;
Each Working Group (Information and Communication) is responsible for updating the relevant section of the Strategic Research Agenda, as well as giving strategic recommendations to the public authorities and identifying opportunities for cooperation, mutual support and joint activities. Strategic research topics as well as relevant markets are continuously monitored.


The Photonics Market Market study

The economic importance of photonics is often understimated. In December 2007 the study 'Photonics in Europe: Economic Impact' was published. This study was based on a survey of the photonics market in Germany, carried out by Optech Consulting at the request of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The European Commission together with Photonics21 have taken the initiative to have this market study extended to cover all of Europe.

The results were very revealing about the position of photonics. Some highlights of the study include:

  • The revenue of the European photonics industry grew by 12% to 49 billion euro in 2006. European photonics production is now equivqlent to that of microelectronics in Europe and is expected to exceed it soon, underlining how important photonics is for Europe's overall economy.
  • Photonics employs 246,000 people in Europe, not including subcontractors. Well over 5,000 companies are involved in manufacturing of photonics, most of them small and medium-sized enterprises.
  • Europe has 19% of the overall worldwide photonics production volume and leads in many key sectors such as lighting, measurement and automated vision, production technology, medical technology and life sciences, defence photonics and optical components and systems. In these areas the European share ranges from 25% to 45%.
A copy of this study can be downloaded from the Photonics21 website .

The Strategic Research Agenda


Strategic Research Agenda in Photonics The members of Photonics21 are in the process of writing a new Strategic Research Agenda. The original SRA 'Towards a Bright Future for Europe' was published in April 2006 and since then has been the reference point for European research in photonics.

It gives a detailed overview of all economic fields in Europe where photonics is either the major part or where it is the key component enabling a product. The main research priorities and the most relevant fields of application are set out and the most important objectives for economic growth are defined.

The intention is to have the new Strategic Research Agenda completed by January 2010 when it will be handed over to the European Commission.

If you are interested in contributing to this process, you can do so by registering to become a member of Photonics21. You will be able to get involved in creating this common vision for European photonics.