UK photonics gateway launched to coincide with EU funding

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The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Photonics at the University of Southampton in the UK, launched a new national web portal for photonics on 11 December, to coincide with the EU funding programme Horizon 2020. The portal aims to map the UK’s activity in photonics so that industry and academia can discover resources and collaborators.

The UK portal uses semantic web technologies to bring together UK photonics organisations, techniques, people and equipment, in order to facilitate collaboration within the photonics industry.

The site works by collating information from a host of sources including universities and industry sites, such as the European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC). The flexible nature of the underlying technology allows for easy integration of additional data sources. The portal content will be enriched with on-going collaboration.

Dr Gilberto Brambilla, director for the EPSRC centre, said: ‘This national photonics gateway is the first port of call for anyone who has a question concerning photonics in the UK. The site will enable users to match their requirements to expertise or capabilities offered by UK photonics organisations: we’ve drawn together the best sources and made this information accessible. It’s the perfect starting point to finding your next collaboration opportunity.’

Susan Peacock, EPSRC’s ICT portfolio manager, added: ‘This site is important as it will give UK companies and research prominence across Europe. Photonics is central to many modern day technologies and is a sector that is continuing to grow, with new applications emerging that offer solutions to many global societal challenges, including medical technologies for health, and security.’

UK was launched to coincide with Horizon 2020, the EU's biggest research and innovation framework programme with a budget worth nearly €80 billion. Funding for this programme is focused on three pillars, two of which photonics can be applied to - ‘Excellent science’ and ‘Societal challenges’- where €77 million is available.

Moreover, the establishment of the Photonics Public Private Partnership (PPP) under Horizon 2020 will provide a long-term investment commitment by both the photonics industry and the European Commission, to secure Europe's industrial leadership and economic growth in photonics. The European Commission presented the first photonics calls under Horizon 2020 on 11 December.