Horizon 2020 projects show five-fold leverage on EU investment

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According to a new report, European photonics public-private partnerships (PPP) funded under Horizon 2020 have shown five-fold leverage on the money invested by the EU.

Published by Photonics21 and conducted by Tematys, the study Exploration of Photonics Markets analysed 100 consortia funded in part by the EU and private enterprises between 2014 and 2018.

The analysis showed positive growth on the amount initially pledged throughout the lifetime of each consortium and from the follow-up.

'For every €100 invested in photonics, the total leverage of investment by companies in the projects and the aftermath is €500 from follow-up investments in R&D, production, and commercial effort,' said Photonics executive board member Roberta Ramponi

The report comes amid news that photonics could lose significance in European economic policy. The draft for Horizon 2020's follow-up funding programme, Horizon Europe, doesn’t explicitly mention photonics, which could impact how much the sector receives, Spectaris' Dr Wenko Süptitz wrote in an article for Electro Optics in March.

Horizon Europe has a proposed budget of €100 billion over the period of 2021 to 2027. The Commission has launched an online consultation process to help finalise the strategic plan for Horizon Europe, which will close on 8 September.

The Commission will also run the European Research and Innovation Days in Brussels from 24 to 26 September to help shape Horizon Europe.

Earlier in the year, Nobel laureates Stefan Hell, Gérard Mourou and Theodor Hansch wrote an open letter to the European Commission criticising the decision not to include photonics as a specific visible objective within Horizon Europe.

Meanwhile the European Photonics Industry Consortium and the European Optical Society have both expressed concerns about Horizon Europe’s draft strategic plan.

'The five-times leverage is impressive and shows light technologies are a good value for money. It’s clear that Europe is in a great position to develop its deep technologies that all depend on photonics, such as next-generation sensors for IoT, 3D vision, high-performance computing, quantum communication, industry 4.0, artificial intelligence, smart farming, 5G, personalised healthcare, and quantum computing,' noted Ramponi.

More than €445 million was committed to the photonics projects and are made up of 1,017 participants, 275 of which are SMEs and 281 big companies.