Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific Challenge: Europe's photonics industry is facing fierce global market competition and has to cope with a very high speed of technological developments in the field. Further major S&T progress and research and innovation investments are required for sustaining Europe's industrial competitiveness and leadership in photonic market sectors where Europe is strong (communications, lighting, laser-based manufacturing, medical photonics, or safety & security) and to exploit new emerging market opportunities.

Moreover, Europe is experiencing the existence of many fragmented and rather uncoordinated developments between many different national and regional players. Europe suffers also from a slow innovation process for turning many good R&D results achieved into innovative products (‘Valley of Death’). Finally, Europe needs to better exploit the large enabling potential of photonics in many industrial sectors and in solutions addressing major societal challenges such as health and well-being, energy efficiency or safety.


a.      Research & Innovation Actions

Application driven core photonic technology developments for a new generation of photonic devices (including components, modules and sub-systems): Actions should also address the related materials, manufacturability, validation of results for the target applications, and standardisation activities, as appropriate. They should demonstrate strong industrial commitment, be driven by user needs and concrete business cases supported by strong exploitation strategies, and cover the value/supply chain as appropriate. Focus is on the following topics:

·         Biophotonics for screening of diseases: Mobile, low-cost point-of-care screening devices for reliable, fast and non- or minimally-invasive detection of diseases (such as cardiovascular, cancer, neurodegenerative, skin or lung diseases, etc.). Actions should be driven by medical end-user needs and include a validation in real settings. Clinical trials are excluded.

·         Sensing for safety and civil security: Breakthrough advances in cost-effective, high-performance, multi-band optoelectronic devices (including sources) for near- and mid-infrared sensing applications (spectral range of 0.7 to 50 μm) representing high-volume markets. Device cost in volume production should not exceed 10 times the related cost of devices for the visible domain.

Disruptive approaches in sensing: Proof-of-concept for photonic sensing devices offering breakthrough advances in sensitivity or specificity enabled by new technology, new device concepts (e.g. based on quantum optics or quantum technologies, plasmonics, metamaterials, or non conventional wavefront shaping), new materials or non-conventional light-matter interaction from the research lab. Actions should demonstrate the feasibility of industrially relevant devices through a functional prototype.

b.      Innovation Actions

Open system architectures for Solid State Lighting (SSL): Development and validation in real settings of new open system architectures (hardware and software level) for SSL based intelligent lighting systems. Actions should address specific lighting requirements in relation to the intelligent system control network, cost-effective installation (easy commissioning), safety and security issues, as well as the development of related electronic/photonic devices. Proposed architectures should allow interchangeability of the lighting modules with focus on the standardisation of interfaces. Actions should involve microelectronic and SSL manufacturers or suppliers and include strong commitment for industrialising targeted products in Europe.

c.       Coordination and support actions

Actions driven by the key stakeholders in photonics and targeting:

-       Strategic coordination and networking of Photonics21 stakeholders and other relevant communities for strategic technology road-mapping and for coordination with national and regional photonics activities.

-       The wide uptake of SSL technologies:  Bringing together European cities to share information, testing facilities and procurement and deployment experiences on SSL; networking European SSL test facilities to ensure LED product quality in the European market place; training the public procurers in SSL technologies.

-       EU-wide outreach for promoting photonics to young people, entrepreneurs and the general public.

d.      ERA-NET Cofund Action

A joint call for proposals on a photonics topic of strategic interest, to be funded through an ERA-NET Cofund action between national and regional grant programmes.

Expected impact:

a.      Research & Innovation Actions

For application driven core photonic technology developments:

·         Secured and reinforced industrial technology leadership and substantially increased market presence in diagnostics and in safety & security.

·         Improved business opportunities and value creation in Europe by reinforced cooperation along the value chain.

·         Substantially improved screening of diseases for a more effective treatment.

·         Substantially improved sensing solutions for high-volume safety and security markets.

For disruptive approaches in sensing:

·         Secured industrial technology leadership in novel sensing systems targeting applications of high industrial and/or societal relevance.

b.      Innovation Actions

·         Reinforced industrial leadership in intelligent lighting systems and related devices fabricated in Europe.

·         Major benefits for the users through the wide market introduction of intelligent lighting systems based on open system architectures and standardised interfaces.

c.       Coordination and support actions

·         Reinforced value chains and deployment of photonics technologies by closer cooperation of key photonics stakeholders and users in areas of common interest.

·         Demonstrable improvement of awareness, and support of/for EU cities for widely deploying solid-state lighting with measurable benefits for the citizens.

·         Demonstrable increased awareness and recognition of photonics by the wide public.

d.      ERA-NET Cofund action

Closer cooperation and greater pooling of resources between regional, national and EU-wide research programmes in strategic photonics Research & Innovation areas.

Types of action:

a.       Research & Innovation Actions – Proposals requesting a Small contribution are expected

b.      Innovation Actions – One proposal requesting a Large contribution is expected to be selected

c.       Coordination and Support Actions

d.      ERA-NET Cofund Action, any remaining funds will be transferred to action type a. above.

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