The Photonics Leadership Group (PLG) today announced that it has been reformed with full backing from over 50 leading UK photonics manufacturers, associations and research institutes. At a meeting in London on 8 May 2013 the group confirmed over ~70,000 people are directly employed in UK photonics manufacturing in an industry worth £10.5 billion to the UK economy and continuing to grow at 8-10% annually, confirming 2010 figures from the Electronics Sensor Photonics Knowledge Transfer Network (ESP KTN). The Gross Value Add (a measure of output) was reported as £49k per employee, 40% above the UK manufacturing industry average.
The PLG meeting voted Dr Christopher Dorman, of Coherent Scotland to act as Chairman and Dr John Lincoln of Harlin Ltd as Chief Executive for the group with the vision to lead the growth of the dynamic UK photonics industry. UK photonics manufacturers already export an estimated 75% of their output throughout the globe, and will continue to make a significant contribution to economic growth, through both the direct manufacture of photonics devices and by enabling photonics to be embedded in a wide range of end products. Photonics is an enabling technology that will increasingly provide solutions to the challenges of modern society from healthcare, to advanced manufacturing, to security and communications.
Welcoming the Technology Strategy Board’s identification of Photonics as an enabling technology in November 2012, and acknowledging the significant investment of the Engineering and Physical Sciences research Council (EPSRC) in photonics over many years, the group aims to maximise growth of an industry that was described by Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission, as essential to keeping over 10% of the European economy competitive.
In addition to working with UK business, government and support agencies, the Photonics Leadership Group looks forward to working closely with Photonics21 and the new Public Private Partnership in Photonics being developed with the European Commission. In particular, the group welcomes the recent multi-annual strategic roadmap from Photonics21, and will be further analysing this for specific opportunities for UK industry in close collaboration with ESP KTN.
About the Photonics Leadership Group:
The Photonics Leadership Group aims to:-
- Increase the UK’s position from its current place as one of the top 5 photonics manufacturers and innovators globally.
- Enhance a strong and competitive photonics supply chain from basic components to high value integrated systems for applications from healthcare to defence and advanced manufacturing.
- Provide a clear voice for the UK photonics industry emphasising the value of photonics as an essential element in solutions to societal challenges and as a rapidly growing manufacturing industry driving significant economic growth.
- Maximise new photonics innovation and its commercialisation, strengthening UK industry to enhance exports and attract inward investment improving the competitiveness and growth of the UK economy.
- Foster continuous strategic dialogue between the photonics industry, government, academia and support agencies, in the UK and Europe, to create an efficient environment for innovation and translation into manufacturing.
Photonics encompasses all of the technologies, products and processes around the emission, manipulation and detection of light. Photonics provides the key functionality in a vast range of products e.g. fibre optics powering the internet, lasers welding safer more efficient cars, to microscopes and instrumentation essential to modern healthcare. Photonics is a global market worth €300bn and is forecast to grow by 8-10% annually to €550bn by 2020.