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The European Photonics CAReer LAunch Path

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CARLA (The European Photonics CAReer LAunch Path)

Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2021-06-30

Photonics helps to improve the well-being of our world through exploiting the unique properties of light,which can be found at the core of daily products and technologies.Considered a Key Enabling Technology(KET)for Europe’s future prosperity by the European Commission,it is calculated that 30% of the entire economy already depends on photonics technologies
Infographics showing the multitude of applications of photonics
The European photonics industry needs more well-prepared diverse professionals that support its growth,leadership and innovation potential.The current shortage in the competent workforce has to be compensated with more diverse students in the STEM careers as well as with a growing number of students and early stage researchers pursuing careers in photonics
CARLA aims to develop a robust, competitive and sustainable photonics career camp of excellence and to test the model across 10 European countries. The CARLA camp, a reproducible multi-format event, integrates the needs of students and researches with the dimensions of industry, academia, innovation and entrepreneurship, putting special attention to empower diversity
The project is also developing a virtual hub to support interaction and flow of information within the photonics community and comprehensive handbooks will collect the lessons learnt,facilitating camp replication thus ensuring sustainability
The top-down and bottom-up approach of CARLA
The objectives of the project are
To increase the interest of STEM graduates and early-stage researchers for photonics careers by giving visibility to the ubiquity of photonics and the broad range of professional opportunities the field offers
To improve employability through inspirational training sessions directed to help fill the skill gaps identified by the stakeholders and by integrating entrepreneurship and innovation sessions
To offer a platform for students and researchers to meet photonics professionals from different fields so to start building a network directed to develop their professional careers in photonics
To increase the involvement of women and under-represented communities in photonics careers by identifying mechanisms directed to this segment through the Diversity working group and the CARLA camps
Collection of stakeholders’inputs
More than 80 representatives of the photonics ecosystems from 21 countries across 5 working groups (Industry, Academia,EntrepreneursInnovators,StudentsResearchers and Diversity) were gathered in 7 different collaborative workshops led by Photonics Austria,POLIMI,MBI and ICFO and questioned using the methodology established by Secpho about their view on the requirements for career camps of excellence, as well as their take on careers in the field. Needs and recommendations were integrated by the CARLA consortium in the guidelines for the design of the camps.
Design of the scaffold of the camps
According to the stakeholders’ input, the CARLA camps should be held over 1.5–2 days,with details of the format and timing left to the organising institutions,and although it should avoid the start of a new term and exam season. Individual programme sessions should be kept short, to maximise engagement without overcrowding the content,and the ratio of interactive events to talks should be high
The programme should include the following sessions
About Photonics-information about the field as a whole from the perspectives of research, markets and applications
Career Development–glimpse into the range of professional options in photonics and potential career development paths and skills to develop
Innovation and Entrepreneurship – sessions to promote them
Professional Growth–facilitate the development of personal networks and foster career development
Diversity – to be normalized and promoted in all aspects of the camps
Implementation of virtual camps
Due to the current global health situation, two camps were organised in a virtual format by ICFO and VUB
The virtual format was not envisioned initially by the project, so that the stakeholders’ guidelines had to be adapted to the online setting.This affected the format of some of the sessions although the goals and fundamental content were preserved
Despite the changes, both events received excellent feedback from the attendees (average overall rating is 4.48/5).Participants were provided with a broad overview of careers in photonics and clarity of career options available to them increased by 20%
Dissemination of the project
A distinctive logo, visual identity, website and materials were developed to disseminate information about the project and promote the camps and careers in photonics
The CARLA website was used to disseminate the project to the target audiences of the camps, stakeholders, potential replicators, to the public at large and to policy makers.Periodic updates and news are added to the page, in addition to dates and information about the camps
The CARLA project is also present on LinkedIn and Instagram, where original content and relevant news and events are shared on a weekly basis. ECOP Twitter channel is also used to amplify the reach of the information shared on the other channels,in addition to the dissemination efforts through the partners’ institutional channels
To sustain the channels and ensure a true pan-European approach, consortium partners have been involved in the generation of contents around the importance and ubiquity of photonics,the multidisciplinarity of the field in addition to information on professional profiles and career opportunities
The dissemination and exploitation of the project have a triple dimension
1Disseminate the content
High quality content and materials
Through the stakeholders’ sessions, we identified topics of interest, content and formats that were highly appreciated by camps attendees
Broad dissemination
Contents are disseminated through complementing channels to diversify reach and accumulated over 400k views and impressions by M18
2Replicate the camps beyond the project
Engage with multipliers
38 observers, including universities and research centres,clusters and initiatives,attended the camps
2 master’s programs expressed interest in replicating the camps. The Master in Quantum Science and Technology of Barcelona will host a CARLA camp in April 2022
Create and distribute a handbook
A comprehensive handbook including best practices will enable replication of the camps
It will be disseminated through CARLA, ECOP and partners’websites,channels and mailing lists
Identify sponsoring opportunities
A sponsorship guide is being created
3Create the seed for a job opportunities market place
Promote networking
CARLA is creating a rich ecosystem composed by the camp’s alumni, industry, academia, entrepreneurs, HR and training experts
CARLA is promoting networking, highlighting its importance and helping students and researchers in doing it with dedicated spaces and sessions
Create an ongoing space for networking
The LinkedIn page(441 followers at M18) serves as a virtual meeting space and it is continuously updated
CARLA reaches out to students and researchers, industry, academia, entrepreneurs and create synergies with photonics related organisations to promote the LinkedIn community beyond the camps
The community will become the seed for internships, industrial PhD and programs that help bringing academia and industry together
ECOP will manage the community beyond CARLA ensuring sustainability
CARLA logo
Screenshot of the start of the virtual pilot camp hosted by ICFO