“Photonics is at the Heart of Our Digitization Strategy" States Commissioner Oettinger - More Than 370 Experts Debate Photonics PPP Funding Priorities / Digitization of Industry in Focus



“Photonics provides a competitive edge for every industry", were confident words from Commissioner Günther Oettinger, who opened the General Assembly of the Photonics Public Private Partnership Annual Meeting 2016, with his keynote speech ‘Photonics for the successful digitization of European Industry’.

Setting photonics at the heart of a successful Digitization of Industry, Commissioner Oettinger was clear in his purpose, saying: "5G, Robotics and Factories of the future all depend on photonics and working in a strategic partnership."

Oettinger believes the Public Private Partnership must be central to strategy in delivering the European Digitization of Industry. "We must adopt a wholesale approach: every sector has a competitive role to play in the Digitization of Industry"

Commissioner Oettinger paid homage to the platform celebrating a decade of innovation and fostering of photonics talent. "Who would have thought ten years ago that membership would be over 2500? The Photonics PPP is the only place in Europe where all members of the Photonics community come together".

Photonics21 president and CEO of Jenoptik AG, Michael Mertin, recalled the success of the PPP platform, with membership in excess of 2500, but also the good work taking place in Europe through photonics. Mertin focused on the importance of photonics in a world context, making convincing calls to ensure Europe stays at the centre of the global photonics market through its critical input into the Digitization of Industry.

Mertin believes that "the most promising field for photonics as key enabling technology lies within the megatrend of digitization, which will certainly have a tremendous impact on factors that shape a nation's future economic and competitive edge" said Mertin. "What I am convinced of is that the rising tide of digitization will induce fundamental changes to classic global economic structures and business models as well as to our private lives"

Wolfgang Boch, Head of the Photonics Unit, DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology, of the European Commission addressed the assembly on the progress made in the Photonics Public Private Partnership and outlined the opportunities and challenges ahead.

Dr Wolfgang Maier, Director of Hardware Development IBM, informed the photonics community on leading digital transformation and the advantages to be exploited in the most recent developments in computing.

The Photonics PPP priority setting for Horizon 2020 work program 2018 – 2020 took part across seven thematic workshops, with more than 370 experts debating the funding priorities and democratically deciding on the agenda for the future.

The joint winners of the Photonics21 Student Innovation Award 2016 were announced by Photonics21 Executive Board Member, Roberta Ramponi, both collecting €2500.

Benedikt Schwarz of the Institute for Solid State Electronics and Center for Micro- and Nanostructures, TU Wien collected one of the prizes for his work on "Miniaturized mid-infrared sensors".

Fernando Guiomar of the Dipartimento di Elettronica e Telecomunicazioni, Politecnico di Torino, took the other prize for his work on "high performance and efficient digital signal processing (DSP) algorithms for the compensation of nonlinear propagation impairments in high-speed and long-haul optical fiber systems". Both were praised for their excellent photonics research.

Taking place at the Le Plaza Hotel, Brussels, the Photonics PPP Annual Meeting gathered more than 370 photonics experts from industry, research organisations and politics making it the most well-attended and successful meeting in its ten year history.

About Photonics21
Photonics21 is the European Technology Platform (ETP) for photonics –a technology encompassing all of the products and processes around the emission, manipulation and detection of light. It is integral to a wide range of industries that include the medical, healthcare, transport, manufacturing, and telecommunications sectors. In December 2005 "Photonics21" was set up to bring the community of photonics professionals and industries together.

In September 2009, the European Commission defined photonics as one of five European Key Enabling Technologies (KET's) and shortly after the European Research & Innovation Program "Horizon 2020" invited Photonics21 to become a "Public Private Partnership" (PPP). In November 2013 the "Photonics 21 Association", a legal entity under Belgium law, became the private contract partner in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) in conjunction with the EU Commission.

Today Photonics21 represents more than 2500 personal members from all over Europe. Our members are experts in the photonics industry, research organisations and universities who actively engage with us to develop a joint photonics strategy for future research and innovation in Europe.  

With the global photonics market growing at twice the world economic growth rate, from 350 Billion Euros in 2011 to 615 Euros in 2020, Photonics21 stands in a secure global market position. The production of European photonics alone accounts for 60 billion Euros and employs over 350,000 people directly.

With strong growth forecast, current industry trends like digitalisation, resource efficiency, individual and zero failure production will drive the photonics industry further.

For more information about Photonics21 please visit, www.photonics21.org.