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Bright careers in photonics

Photonics has a bright future ahead and offers glittering career prospects for European scientists. A European training network has been established to help equip a new generation of researchers with skills in the field.
Bright careers in photonics
Given that photonics deals with the generation and manipulation of light, it is appropriate that this cutting-edge field has become a beacon of European success with ever-brighter prospects ahead. Already, in 2006, the sector was worth EUR 49 billion in revenues, and the potential to exceed microelectronics in the coming years.

In light of this potential, photonics is recognised by the EU as a key enabling technology that drives innovation. However, one key challenge remaining for the sector is the shortage of qualified personnel, as identified by the European Technology Platform Photonics21.

'Postgraduate research on photonics as an enabling technology' (PROPHET) is an EU-financed Initial Training Network (ITN) project helping to fill this skills shortage. The project is training 14 early-stage researchers (ESRs) and 5 young but experienced researchers.

With support from the People sub-programme of the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), the PROPHET consortium comprises nine partners from academia, four from industry and two associated partners. It is furnishing the participating fellows with a whole spectrum of relevant know-how: growth and fabrication, structural and device characterisation and theory, instrument assembly, as well as industrial applications.

With input from both academia and industry, fellows are also gaining experience in how to leverage and apply fundamental knowledge, particularly in the areas of communications, energy, environment and life science.

The project has made significant headway towards its goals in all the identified areas. When PROPHET winds up at the end of 2014, its fellows will be able to go out into the world and become apostles for the new science.

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