Laser industry 'hugely important' to the Scottish economy, says politician Yousef

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Scotland has the talent, skills and expertise to become a global powerhouse for the multi-billion pound laser-enabled technology industry, external affairs minister for the Scottish Parliament Humza Yousaf has said. Yousaf made the comments while meeting participants in the SU2P programme on a visit to the Photonics Research Centre at Stanford University in California’s Silicon Valley during Scotland Week 2014 which ran from 7-14 April.

SU2P is collaboration between the four Scottish Universities of Glasgow, Heriot-Watt, Strathclyde and St Andrews, together with two California-based universities, Stanford and CalTech.

Yousaf also said the global optoelectronics industry is predicted to be valued at more than $900 billion by 2015 and said: ‘Scotland’s laser industry is part of a booming worldwide business. Lasers are used in everything from mobile phones to medicine, barcode scanners to Blu-Ray players. They are becoming increasingly integral to our lives.

‘Laser-enabled technology is already hugely important to the Scottish economy, worth more than £660 million and supporting high-value manufacturing, world-class research and highly skilled jobs.

‘Scotland is a creative and innovative nation, and we have the talent, skills and expertise to take advantage of the opportunities offered by this growing market. We are proud to have both a strong academic base and a thriving laser industry that manufactures cutting edge technology which is exported the world over.'

He concluded: ‘The challenge now is to maximise the commercial potential of our world-leading academic success in this field, which is what the SU2P programme aims to achieve.’

The collaboration provides facilitated interactions between UK industry and university researchers in Scotland and USA. This commercially-oriented collaboration commenced in September 2009 and builds on research in photonics in Scotland’s universities and strong links to Stanford and Caltech.