SECPhO launches to support photonics in Spain and southern Europe

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The Southern European Cluster in Photonics and Optics (SECPhO) has been launched, with the goal of improving the competitiveness of the optics and photonics sector in Spain and southern Europe. Members include nearly 40 research institutions and companies whose work concerns the behaviours and properties of light and the application of optics and photonics to industrial solutions.

'SECPhO will provide impetus for developing innovation in the region, and networks and resources for transferring research knowledge from universities and research laboratories to industry,' said SPIE President María Yzuel. 'I congratulate the founders of the cluster and I wish them great success.'

'SECPhO is an industry-oriented cluster with a strong technological base,' said Andres Cifuentes, manager of SECPhO. 'Our three prioritised strategic goals are promoting R&D collaboration among industry and research organisations through identifying companies' technological challenges and implementing innovative solutions based on optics and photonics technologies, promoting collaborative efforts to increase international business, and improving, attracting and maintaining talent.'

Cifuentes noted that the Spanish photonics sector involves 114 enterprises employing approximately 7,500 people, with total revenues near 1.4 billion euro. The new cluster is supported by the Catalonian government, the Spanish Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade, and the City of Terrassa. SPIE Board Member Marta de la Fuente of Indra Sistemas SA is a founding member and sits on SECPhO's Strategic Committee.

One of the cluster's first projects, the Spanish Technological Capabilities Map, is due to launch this month. The project is a joint initiative between SECPhO and Fotónica21, the Spanish Photonics Technology Platform. The cluster will hold its first exhibition and meeting on 16 December in Terrassa.

'Photonics clusters help strengthen their regional economies through improving productivity and encouraging innovation within their regions,' said SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs. 'This in turn helps stimulate advancements in photonics applications around the world that solve problems in energy production, healthcare, and other important areas. SPIE is happy to see SECPhO join the world's photonics cluster community, and we look forward to seeing the progress that will result from this network.'