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Signing of Photonics PPP set to boost Europe's innovation capacity and competitiveness

The Photonics Public Private Partnership (PPP) was signed by the European Commission (EC) and the representative organ of the European photonics industry, Photonics21, on 17 December in Brussels. Created under the Horizon 2020 EU funding programme, the partnership will provide long-term investment commitment from both the industry and the EC to secure Europe's industrial leadership and economic growth in photonics.

Signed by vice president of the EC, Neelie Kroes, the PPP marks the successful conclusion of a joint effort between the public and the private sectors to help get Europe on the fast track to economic recovery.

The Photonics21 Association - the private partner of the Photonics PPP - will become fully operational in 2014 and is based on the Photonics21 European Technology Platform. This platform was set up to unite the majority of the leading photonics industries and relevant R&D stakeholders along the whole economic value chain throughout Europe. It has grown from 60 to more than 2,000 members since its launch in 2005 and will continue to ensure close collaboration between the EU, industry and academia, and facilitate input to research and innovation actions within Horizon 2020.

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever, with nearly €80 billion of funding available from 2014 to 2022. On 11 December, the EC published the first calls for projects under this programme, with €47 million allocated for photonics-related proposals, including €28 million for biophotonics and €8million for solid state lighting. The Photonics PPP ensures that EU funding is spent wisely, because experts from the industry within Photonics21 can identify the most relevant research and innovation topics. Photonics21 will provide industrial and scientific expertise, acting as the advisory body to the EC for photonics research and innovation funding throughout Horizon 2020.

Bernd Schulte, vice president and executive board member of Photonics21, said: ‘The Photonics PPP is an excellent instrument for stimulating Europe's photonics sector and making the innovation process more inclusive, sustainable and effective through the direct involvement of the entire value chain - from the researcher to the end-user. As a key enabling technology, photonics plays a pivotal role in the re-industrialisation of Europe, and expanding the industry share of the European economy beyond the current 16 per cent by 2020.’

‘We welcome this new partnership as a significant boost for Europe’s innovation capacity and competitiveness,' added Giorgio Anania, Photonics21 vice president and executive board member. 'Given the tighter fiscal belts in the EU’s overall budget, it is now all the more important that different EU funding streams are well-aligned and that every Euro is spent wisely. Smart specialisation and smart spending, coupled with massive simplification and greater flexibility, will therefore be at the heart of the Photonics PPP’s efforts to ensure the greatest impact possible on economic growth and job creation.'


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