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/