European photonics companies should exploit the research capabilities in Singapore and see the country as a gateway to Asia, said Carlos Lee, director general of the European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC), while discussing a new partnership between EPIC and Singapore’s Photonic Consortium (LUX).
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the consortiums was made official during EPIC’s annual general meeting (AGM), which took place on 21-22 April in Zurich. Under the agreement, both will cooperative in activities to boost the technological and commercial advancement of photonics.
Singapore is set to spend roughly €12.5 billion on research and development over the next five years, and LUX is working to ensure this funding doesn’t just stay with universities and research institutes, but also reaches photonics companies – and not just those located in Singapore, but internationally.
The LUX Photonics Consortium’s vision is to establish a photonics academia and industry network in the Asia Pacific region. It was set up by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and National University of Singapore (NUS), with support from the National Research Foundation, and has 13 founding industry members, including Coherent, II-VI Infrared, Finisar, and Hylax Technology.
‘The next five years of investment into R&D is 19 billion Singapore dollars (€12.5 billion). For a population of 5.5 million, I understand that this is probably the highest R&D investment per capita,’ said Professor Swee Chuan Tjin, chairman of the LUX Photonics Consortium and co-director of the Photonics Institute at Nanyang Technological University, at EPIC’s AGM.
‘Part of the reason why we formed a photonics consortium [is] because we realised that [Singapore’s government] is putting a lot of money into R&D, the universities, and research institutions, but there are not many companies who are recipients.
‘We are looking for partnerships with companies – including European companies – to work on projects together.’
Under the MOU, LUX and EPIC will encourage direct contact and cooperation between the two consortiums, including by exchanging information and contacts. It will also act as the platform for members of each consortium to reach the other’s relevant government representatives and public funding bodies. Other activities will include organising co-host visits for delegates of each consortium, and exchanging information such as market studies and technology reports.
‘It’s an opportunity for members of EPIC to take advantages of the research capabilities in Singapore,’ said Carlos Lee of the partnership. ‘I also see Singapore as a gateway to Asia,’ adding that EPIC members can use this to access new markets.
‘We are the gateway to Asia, and have very good relationships with many of the international companies around Asia,’ Professor Swee Chuan Tjin added. ‘We are looking at working with you to see how we can be the gateway to help you to find partners in Singapore as well as in Asia.’