A ground breaking horizon scanning report on the future of photonics research 2030 and beyond has been released by the Photonics Leadership Group and the All-Party Parliamentary Group in Photonics and Quantum. The PLG brought together 26 of the UK’s leading photonics researchers from 20 different institutions to ask “what will be the focus of photonics research a decade and more from now?”
UK photonics output reaches £13.5 billion according to the latest update from the PLG. The industry now contributes £5.3 billion of gross added value to the UK economy annually and employs 69,000 people in the UK at a productivity of £76,400 per employee, significantly above the UK average of £67,000 per manufacturing employee
UK photonics industry is now equivalent in size to the UK pharmaceutical,
fintech or space industries in the UK.
The continued growth of UK photonics reflects the critical role that
light plays in current and next-generation products and manufacturing.
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.
The UK Photonics: the Hidden Economy report, published in May 2018, details how such an enabling sector can be analysed and compares UK photonics to other key UK manufacturing sectors, the fit of photonics to the UK industry strategy and its position relative to the European and global photonics industries.
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.