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QinetiQ's cuts illustrate challenges facing photonics

Plans announced recently by QinetiQ to make programme and job cuts in operations at its Malvern, UK facility have prompted members of the international optics and photonics community to urge an alternative solution that continues the work being done there. SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs is among those promoting continuation of the Malvern facility's work.

According to Arthurs, the Malvern issue serves as an illustration of the challenge many countries face in sustaining technological advancement, which he says is a vital element in ensuring economic strength. In a letter to UK MPs David Willetts and Vincent Cable, posted 22 July, Arthurs said that he shared the widely held high regard for work done by Malvern scientists and engineers, and recognises the economic and strategic value represented by the group's capability.

'The knowledge base that has been built up through the work of various teams at Malvern represents a key component underpinning the UK's future potential in electronic and optical technologies with growing market potential The value is easily destroyed and so difficult to build that it deserves to be described as irreplaceable,' he said. 'The problem that needs to be solved is a problem not unique to the UK but shared by many of the developed economies around the world: how to convert pre-eminence in science and technology into continuing economic growth.'

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