Financing company growth

As a high growth industry, continually targeting new markets, there are few photonics companies that have not had to raise capital .  As UK photonics companies have grown most have faced tough decisions between sustaining growth, raising equity finance and/or partnering with a strategic industry investor through trade sale.

UK government is reviewing the availability of ‘patient capital’ including reasons why many UK firms sell earlier and have fewer rounds of investment than elsewhere in world.  Input is sort on potential policy options, including the effectiveness of existing interventions and what additional support may be effective.

Given the need to access capital to grow and the photonics industry’s considerable experience with all the various options we encourage direct company input to the review by 22 September.  Responding online is possible, although the consultation asks more extensive questions on future options and their relevance which many will prefer to respond to and submit via email (e.g. what scale of investment should the government seek to unlock and over what time frame).

PLG response to the UK Industry Strategy Green Paper

The Photonics Leadership Group has submitted a full response to the UK industry strategy green paper consultation based on broad ranging industry input and our analysis of the green paper.

The PLG looks forward to working with government to develop a detailed sector strategy for Photonics following the election on 8 June 2017

Next PLG meeting 4 May London

The next PLG meeting will be on 4 May in London, 2-5pm.  The main topic of discusion will be creating a Sector Deal for Photonics.  If you are intersting in attending and not currently a contributor to the PLG  please contact us

UK Photonics in the news BBC News

BBC news: The many ways lasers help us see the world more clearly –

Emerging and Enabling technologies competition

Only three briefings left for Innovate’s latest Emerging and Enabling technology competition

  • Cardiff on Thursday 20 October 2016,
  • Bristol on Wednesday 26 October 2016,
  • Glasgow on Wednesday 26 October 2016

Make sure you get the latest on this £15million competition targeting

  • any emerging technology that can demonstrate a step change in performance and the potential to disrupt existing industrial approaches; we are particularly looking to fund projects in energy harvesting, imaging technologies, graphene or biofilms
  • any enabling technology in: satellite applications; electronics; sensors; photonics; digital; internet of things; data; cybersecurity; virtual or augmented reality; and distributed ledger technology


Minutes fom PLG meeting

The minutes from the last PLG meeting on 7 September in Leeds are now available. Please contact the PLG if you would like a copy.

Lasers for industry 4.0 – latest trends in laser based manufacturing from Photonics21

With photonics technology, especially lasers, central to the digitising of manufacturing and industry 4.0 Photonics21 Working Group 2 have analysed EU funded projects in Laser Based Manufacturing from 2010 onward and compared to current market trends.

Whilst the technical content of funded projects to industry trends is strong, the analysis shows key emerging applications have not been covered. Although the UK’s relationship to Europe is in flux, these emerging applications present signficant global opportunities for all.


The UK is still a great place to do business

Among all the Brexit headlines, there is great deal about doing business in the UK we take for granted:-

  • The UK has the lowest corporation tax rate at 20% of any of G20 countries, that’s half that of the USA and 50% of that in Germany.
  • The UK is global centre of knowledge generation producing 6.4% of all global scientific papers and 16% of the world most highly cited articles from <1% of the world’s population.
  • We have the most flexible labour market in the EU and some of the lowest social security contributions, at 13.8% one third of the rate in France.
  • The UK has some of the world most generous early stage investor tax breaks with investors getting income tax relief on investment and any losses and paying no capital gains or inheritance tax on qualifying investments.
  • R&D tax credits in UK can almost half the cost of development expenditure and patent box means UK companies can pay only 10% tax on products incorporating patented innovation.
  • The UK remains the 6th easiest place to do business in the world.

Sources: Invest in the UK:  your springboard for global growth (UK Trade and Investment)

Lifi- visible light communications info day

The EPSRC-funded ‘Ultra-parallel visible light communications (UP-VLC)’ programme grant – a partnership between the Universities of Strathclyde, Edinburgh, St Andrews, Oxford and Cambridge studying high-bandwidth Datacom via solid-state lighting – is holding an open day on 4th May 2016 at the Royal Academy of Engineering in London.

The event features talks from the project partners, an extensive range of demonstrations of the project’s technology and a keynote talk by 2014 Nobel Laureate in Physics, Professor Hiroshi Amano. It is free to attend and open to all registering in advance.

Autumn Spending review highlights

Below the relevant extract from the Chancelor’s Autumn Spending review  released 25 November 2015. Highlights

  • Innovate to move to providing loans instead of grants
  • Sicence spending to be maintained in real terms

“We commit to the same level of support for our aerospace and automotive industries. Not just for the next five years but for the next decade.

Spending on our new catapult centres will increase.

And we’ll protect the cash support we give through Innovate UK – something we can afford to do by offering £165 million of new loans to companies instead of grants, as France has successfully done for years.

It’s one of the savings that helps us reduce the BIS budget by 17%.

In the modern world one of the best ways you can back business is by backing science. That’s why in the last Parliament, I protected the resource budget for science in cash terms. In this Parliament I’m protecting it in real terms so it rises to £4.7bn.

That’s £500 million more by the end of the decade. Alongside £6.9bn in the capital budget too.

We’re funding the new Royce Institute in Manchester, and new agri-tech centres in Shropshire, York, Bedfordshire and Edinburgh.

And we’re going to commit £75 million to a transformation of the famous Cavendish laboratories in Cambridge, where Crick and Rutherford expanded our knowledge of the universe.

To make sure we get the most from our investment in science, I’ve asked another of our Nobel Laureates Paul Nurse to conduct a review of the research councils.

I want to thank him for the excellent report he has published this week – and we will implement its recommendations.”