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.
With laser materials processing and machine vision pioneers in digital manufacturing, photonics will be vital for the Early Sector deal on Industrial Digitization by Juergen Maier announced in the green paper. With a proliferation of fail safe sensors in autonomous vehicles, lasers enabling light weight construction and development of next generation batteries, photonics will also play a key role in the transition to ultra-low emission vehicles.
Skills shortages at all levels have long been recognised as barriers to increasing photonics growth above the 6% per year already achieved. The priority given in the industry strategy to skills developement is further welcomed and the PLG encourages focus on vocational skills in modern manufacturing and STEM development.
The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund offers the potential for a new and exciting way to to keep the UK at the vanguard of the next generation of high value manufacturing and service delivery. Having provided input into the first round of ISCF workshops, the PLG encourages Innovate to focus on high-level, succinctly defined, challenges that would have significant impact to the UK, not be prescriptive in the technologies that can be applied and actively support participation of SME’s in providing participating in the ISCF.
The PLG eagerly awaits further details of the industrial strategy on it full publication later today and will publish further analysis shortly.