‘Photonics Ireland’, a new National Technology Platform (NTP) to mobilise Ireland’s photonics activities, has been launched. The initiative is expected to help Ireland increase its economic activity in photonics, as well as drive job creation and develop life-changing technologies.
Ireland has been active in the field of photonics for many years, particularly in the communication technology and medical device sectors. With a rapidly developing photonics industry and access to world class photonics researchers, Ireland is in a prime position to make the most of the burgeoning photonics market, which has been projected to reach €600 billion by 2020.
The Photonics Ireland platform will deliver a suite of research and innovation actions focused on the areas of technology, incubation and training – all which will deliver greater investment to photonic start-ups and SMEs, access to world-leading R&D while also meeting the ever growing photonics skills needs of Ireland’s high-tech sectors through a number of training and outreach activities. It will also create a vehicle to engage with similar national platforms across Europe and to assist Irish companies develop partnerships with Europe’s leading photonics companies and universities.
By bringing the key stakeholders together, the programme aims to generate and deliver a common vision and strategy across the Irish photonics community in order to connect Irish strengths to emerging market opportunities.
The launch of the platform occurred on the opening night of the Photonics Ireland 2015 conference in Cork from 2-4 September. Speaking at the event, Professor Paul Townsend, chairman of the Photonics Ireland Conference and director of Irish Photonic Integration centre, said: ‘There are over 300,000 people directly employed in the photonics industry in Europe and the global market is currently estimated to be €350 billion – leading to huge potential for Ireland’s photonics research and industrial community.
‘With high profile announcements such as President Barack Obama’s $200 million endorsement of an integrated photonics institute in the United States, the importance of photonics is being recognised across the globe. The time is now right to put an action plan in place to secure our capabilities for the future.’
Damien English, TD, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, added: ‘By harnessing the strength of the Irish photonics community through this National Technology Platform, we can significantly maximise Ireland’s position as world leader in this field.
‘This platform is a leading example of how Irish research bodies and industry can come together to define a common strategy and identify and execute activities which will drive job creation and develop technologies that will significantly improve all our day to day lives.’