UK Photonics Vision for 2035 launched, predicting a £50 billion industry

The UK Photonics Vision for 2035 is part of a globally unique attempt to look into the future and quantify the economic impact of photonics in the long term and where that impact will be delivered.

UK Photonics 2035 The Vision

The vision indicates that by 2035 UK photonics will:-

  • Grow to a £50 billion annual industry up from £14.5 billion in 2020
  • Add an additional 150,000 jobs on top of the 76,500 already employed in photonics in the UK
  • Be one of the top three most productive manufacturing sectors in the UK
  • Be key to keeping >60% of the UK economy competitive in 2035

“The UK photonics vision intentionally looks far into the future showing how important it is to support scale-up of UK photonics given communications, health, defence, manufacturing and achieving net zero will all depend on core photonics capability.

Dr John Lincoln, Chief Executive, Photonics Leadership Grp

The vision has been constructed in response to the UK Innovation Strategy which identified photonics along with electronics and quantum as one of the seven key transformative technology families critical for future growth and prosperity.   The photonics 2035 vision calls for:

  • Constructive partnership with government to develop a detailed plan and select interventions to deliver the 2035 photonics vision.
  • Dedicated personnel assigned to  photonics in BEIS and Innovate UK to ensure photonics is integrated in R&D investments at a level reflective of the scale of opportunities and impact outlined in the vision
  • A seat on the new Science and Technology council to reflect the all-pervasive nature of photonics

In return, the photonics industry will continue to invest, to expand, to train and champion the UK as a global powerhouse for science, technology and manufacturing, highlighting the benefits of investing in the UK in board rooms across the world.

The vision is released following conclusion of the 2021 Spending Review as an informative tool especially for those in government departments and innovation agencies now working on the detail of which programs to support now their budgets have been fixed as well as an aid for companies and researchers developing their own forward looking strategies.

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