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SPIE leaders welcome new Canadian consortium promoting photonics industry

12 June 2012

BELLINGHAM, USA, and  MONTREAL, Canada  - The new Canadian Photonic Industry Consortium (CPIC) was officially launched last week during Photonics North in Montreal with international backers and partners including leaders of SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, on hand to celebrate.

Founded in April under President and CEO Robert Corriveau, CPIC was formed from a merger of the 12-year-old Canadian Institute for Photonic Innovations (CIPI) and the Canadian Photonic Consortium (CPC).

Its mission is to increase the competitiveness of Canada's photonics sector by accelerating the application and adoption of novel Canadian photonics technologies across the economy, working through a network of end-users, photonic industries, universities and institutions.

CPIC will also seek opportunities to partner with international organizations, including the Photonics21 initiative in Europe, the European Photonics Industry Consortium, the UK Knowledge Transfer Networks, and SPIE.

"CPIC is poised to lead Canada's photonics industry into a highly productive new phase of transforming research and technology into applications that will boost the country's economy and benefit the entire world," said SPIE President Eustace Dereniak (University of Arizona, College of Optical Science). "Using insights from the CPC's industry report entitled Making Light Work for Canada and leveraging the CIPI's expertise as a Centre of Excellence, the CPIC is perfectly equipped to create important R&D connections between academia and industry that are informed by end users."

Dereniak attended the CPIC launch along with SPIE Immediate Past President Katarina Svanberg (Lund University Hospital).

The formation of CPIC coincides with a shift in Canada's budget encouraging ties between industry and higher education and increasing spending for research that is directly tied to innovation.

Dereniak expressed some concern that Canada, which has excelled on the research end of the innovation pathway, will need to maintain balance during the transition to the new emphasis on commercialization capability. "All pieces of the innovation infrastructure are needed, and development of commercialization capability will take time. Support also needs to be maintained for the people doing the research in order to keep feeding the science and technology engine."

Part of CPIC's role will be to work with researchers applying for Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) programs that support industry-academia partnerships. Under an agreement with NSERC, researchers and corporate partners will submit their applications to CPIC, which will vet proposals within two weeks. That initial review and endorsement by a committee of academic and industry scientists is expected to enable NSERC to accelerate its review and approval process.

"We will ensure that the projects fit within NSERC's intellectual property rules and look at how the proposals can be strengthened," Corriveau said. "This will speed up the approval process and increase their chances of success."

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. The Society serves nearly 225,000 constituents from approximately 150 countries, offering conferences, continuing education, books, journals, and a digital library in support of interdisciplinary information exchange, professional growth, and patent precedent. SPIE provided over $2.7 million in support of education and outreach programs in 2011.

Media Contact:
Amy Nelson, Public Relations Manager
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