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Photonics based sensing

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PhotonicSensing (Photonics based sensing)

Reporting period: 2016-09-01 to 2017-11-30

Photonics is one of the most important technologies of the 21st century. We use photonics technologies every day for our entertainment (CD, DVD, Bluray), the illumination of our homes and working places (LED and solid state lighting), in the displays of our tablets, computer monitors and TVs, in all sorts of security devices (PIR motion detectors,…) in the health care, medical applications (diagnostics and therapy), environmental monitoring (e.g. LIDAR systems for gas analysis,…) as well as in production and manufacturing (optical quality control, laser labelling, laser welding and bending, cutting with ultrashort pulse lasers,…).
Without photonics we would not have mobile phones because the data amount could not be handled without a fibre optic internet backbone and also “Big Data” would never have happened. A single flight from London Heathrow to New York generates 650.000 GB of data – far too much to analyse, transfer or store without photonic technologies.

The most relevant technologies with the highest impact on the human life are in the following five sectors:
• Safety including food safety
• Civil security
• Manufacturing / production
• Environmental monitoring
• Medical applications

PhotonicSensing brings together nine national organisations owning and / or managing major photonic research and innovation programmes throughout Europe.
The main objective of PhotonicSensing is to prepare, launch, implement and follow up a single joint transnational call for project proposals which contribute to the fast development and implementation of photonics based sensing technologies and therefore further improves the European market share in this domain.

Projects under this call shall be funded jointly by the participating national funding bodies and co-funded by the European Commission. Already existing photonics sensing technology shall be further developed, refined and combined to the stage of pre-commercial demonstrators which should easily be convertible to commercial products. The transnational photonics sensing RTD projects that will be funded under this joint call are expected to perceptibly contribute to increase the health and well-being of the European citizens in the near future as well as to improve the global market share of the European photonics industry.

PhotonicSensing is expected to act as a strong incentive for European companies to engage in strategic research cooperation. It will constitute a unique opportunity for them to benefit from a more efficient use of their RTD resources and from comprehensive expertise made available by a variety of research institutes.
The Photonics Based Sensing ERA-NET Cofund call was launched on 1 September 2016. 44 preproposals with a total project volume of around 60 MEUR and funding requested of around 38 MEUR were submitted by the deadline set (5 December 2016). Preproposals involved 193 partners from 10 countries and regions. 32 preproposals recommended to be submitted as full proposals were notified on 25 January 2017.

32 Full proposals with a total funding volume of 27 MEUR were submitted by the deadline, i.e. 29 March 2017. Full proposals involved 149 partners from 10 countries and regions. 24 full proposals with a total funding volume of 19 MEUR met all national requirements and were selected for the evaluation carried out by independent international experts between 10 May and 11 June 2017. The individual assessments were followed by a compilation of Consensus Reports and a Quality assessment process. Consensus Reports constitute the main results of the evaluation process and provide a clear assessment of the proposal based on its merits and a clear feedback on the proposal’s weaknesses and strengths. The Quality Assessment of the Consensus Reports was done to assure that these standards are met. Finally the selection meeting held on 28 June 2017 served as platform for discussing and deciding on the selection of proposals which will be subject of funding.

12 out of 24 projects evaluated by independent international experts were selected for funding. The total funding volume of these selected projects are 11 MEUR.
4 projects addressed application area 1) Safety including food safety, 2 projects addressed 2) Civil security, 4 projects application area 3) Manufacturing / production, 5 projects application area 4) Environmental monitoring and 6 projects to the topic 5) Medical Applications (including 5 proposals with cross-sectoral approaches). The total volume of all 12 projects is around 18 MEUR. Projects are expected to start from early 2018 on.
The transnational projects are expected to perceptibly contribute to increase the health and well-being of the European citizens as well as to improve the global market share of the European photonics industry in this domain. The measureable target of this call is to strengthen research and development of photonic sensing techniques for technology readiness levels (TRL) 3-6, from experimental proof of concept to technology demonstrated in relevant environment.

The call is truly transnational, not only in the sense that project consortia should consist of a minimum of two separate partners from at least two different participating countries and/or regions, but also that there should be an added value clearly visible as a result which could not be attainable from isolated approaches undertaken in individual countries/regions.

PhotonicSensing shall maintain and further enhance coordination, coherence and networking between national programmes, possibly also through a successful joint call, providing momentum to contribute to the implementation of photonics based sensing technologies.
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