Dr John Lincoln

John Lincoln
Dr John Lincoln
PhD/EngD, MBA, BSc/BA
Chief Executive
Photonics Leadership Group


John currently has portfolio of positions working concurrently as

  • Chief Executive of the Photonics Leadership Group, championing photonics in the UK
  • Founder of business development consultancy Harlin Ltd supporting multiple clients in assessing market opportunities and business development in photonics
  • Coach for European Innovation Council (formerly SME instrument) supporting innovators in their business growth and innovation journey at SME’s across Europe.
  • Member and chair of multiple advisory boards including SMEs and academic projects

John moved into management and business development from product engineering.  Having complete a BSc and PhD in Physics and a short postdoc, he worked as a laser engineer in California, before returning to the UK to lead the engineering team in a high growth optical component company.  Following the dotcom crash, John took time out to complete a full time MBA, motivated by a desire be more fluent in the language of business.  Combined with his technical background, this led John to move into business development; identifying, quantifying and facilitating new product opportunities, first at a venture capital funded start-up, before founding his own business development consultancy, Harlin Ltd, where he has worked with clients across the world.

With policy makers seeking an efficient route to communication with industry, John helped reformulated the Photonics Leadership Group in 2013.  Finding evidence of impact and return is just as important to policy makers as any other investor, John has pioneered ways to quantify the size of the photonics industry.  Expertise he has subsequently applied to sizing enabling technology industries across the world, including acoustics and fluid dynamics as well as photonics.

‘I have always has a passion from moving technology from research to practical application, and I’m fortunate to have been able to address on many different fronts.  From direct engineering of lasers and photonic component robust enough for use in factories and under-the-sea, to quantifying the size of markets and industries to support investment.  Accelerating the latest photonics innovation into real world applications needs a host of skills.  Bringing the ecosystem together in the PLG, generating mutual understanding and awareness of future trends helps build critical mass to nudge photonics to ever bigger and better achievements for the benefit of all’