MBDA publish 2017 technology challenges for photonics and RF

In collaboration with the Knowledge Transfer Network, MDBA have published 17 key challenges to which they are seeking innovative solutions- many of which require novel photonics or hybrid photonics and radio frequency solutions.  Outline responses are requested by 6 October 2017.

UK Photonics in H2020

As the UK policy paper on Collaboration on science and innovation: a future partnership is published we have taken a quick look at the participation of UK photonics industry in Horizon2020.

  • 34% of all ~14,000 H2020 projects over all topics and subjects have at least 1 UK partner
  • 8.5% of all H2020 projects with a total value of €1.9bn include some photonics*
    • An illustration of the enabling and underpinning role photonics innovation has across all applications.
  • 30% of the H2020 projects including photonics have at least one UK partner -more than any other EU country and much greater than the ~20% UK photonics market share in Europe
    • Illustrating the importance of continuing to have access to those collaborations for all parties.
  •  Over €800m worth of projects involving photonics and at least one UK partner have been supported by H2020 in the last 3 years with an EU contribution of €727m.
    • Quantifying the value of H2020 to advancing photonics enabled innovation and adoption in the UK.

*based on the inclusion of photonics, optics, lasers or their derivatives in H2020 project descriptions as available from CORDIS

UK photonics now worth £12.9billion to economy

UK photonics industry output now exceeds £12.9 billion, is growing at twice the national average with 3X the average UK productivity per worker.

This updated analysis of the UK photonics industry shows a rise of £2.4 bn since the last report in 2013, recording an average growth rate of  >5.3%, which finds UK photonics to be growing at twice the speed of the rest of the UK economy.

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Industry Strategy – what does it mean for photonics

Published on 23Jan 2017, the UK’s latest industrial strategy presents many opportunities  for photonics summarised in our compressed analysis of the industry strategy

View Westminster Hall debate regarding Photonics

The Westminster Hall debate regarding Photonics can be viewed in full online (timing from 11:00am on with respond from Jo Johnston, MP Minister for Universities Science and Research and Innovation from 11:16. Read more of this post

Westminster Hall debate regarding Photonics Industry

Carol Monaghan, MP for Glasgow North West, has successfully applied for a Westminster Hall debate on the UK Photonics Industry, to be held on Wednesday 25 Janurary 2017 @ 11am

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Industry Strategy Feedback

The UK’s new industry strategy is now published.  Whilst, the 10 pillars of the strategy will support continued development of photonics, the vital role of enabling technologies, such as photonics, that provide the competitive edge in product performance, and manufacturing productivity needs to be fully recognised.  Less than 5% of the value of high technology goods, from mobile phones to airplanes, is in the final assembly (Economist 14/1/17). Most value is in the design, the critical components (often photonics e.g. camera, screen, sensors) and the manufacturing equipment (also often photonics e.g laser marking, cutting, machine vision).

Responses to the green paper give the opportunity  to refine the industrial strategy and make sure support for the  research, design, development and manufacture of the hidden technologies that enable a productive future is secure.  The UK is blessed with globally leading photonics research and a strong export driven industry.  But, as a global industry, photonics is sensitive to changes in international trade and care is needed to ensure we continue to develop and manufacture this enabling technology in the UK.

Online responses to the industrial strategy can be submitted at https://beisgovuk.citizenspace.com/strategy/industrial-strategy/consultation/intro/

Industry Strategy Photonics potential

The Photonics Leadership Group welcomes the publication of UK Industry Strategy and looks forward to developing a sector deal for photonics and light based technologies with UK government that addresses needs of both UK photonics industry and the huge range of firms enabled by photonics.

The priority given in the strategy to industries, such as photonics, that self-organise – as evidenced by the continued support for the PLG from multiple sectors and organisations distributed across the UK is further welcomed.  With shared challenges and opportunities already identified, and further strategies for lasers in manufacturing and roadmaps for photonics in active development, the PLG invites the government prioritize development of a sector deal in photonics.  Critical to keeping so many industries competitive from automotive to healthcare, vital for delivering productivity gains in manufacturing and already a major exporter a secotr deal for photonics would enhance the whole of the UK economy.

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Minutes available

Minutes of the PLG meeting on 11 January 2017 are now available to attendees and regular contributors

Please contact us if you would like to participate in the Photonics Leadership Group

Opportunites in UK Datacentre Equipment

The Big UK Data Centre Equipment opportunity cover

The Big UK Data Equipment Opportunity report highlights UK capabilities and key players within this important growth area, with a focus specifically on the financial sector.

The past decade has seen a move from the physical trading floor to the anonymous data centre, populated with generic imported equipment. The next decade will see these systems optimised for the unique requirements of individual data centres. This presents a major opportunity for the UK to supply latency and security-optimised hardware to the local financial services industries and the many sectors handling sensitive data in the UK, from smart metering to healthcare and security.

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