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Funding, workforce, research directions on Photonics21 agenda

SPIE Europe committed to support of platform

Malgorzata Kujawinska of Politechnika Warszawska, Vice President of Photonics21 and Past President of SPIE, outlines the Photonics21 platform before an audience at SPIE Europe Photonics Europe in April.

CARDIFF, WALES, UK - 22 September 2008 - With more than 1000 members from industry, research, and public policy in attendance, the Photonics21 Annual Meeting has become a significant event for the European photonics community. The association, including several members from SPIE Europe, will gather in Brussels on 8 and 9 December for their third annual meeting.

"Photonics21 has both given a sense of purpose and direction to the smorgasbord of opportunities that is photonics in Europe, and helped build valuable connections for the benefit of the field," said SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs, a member of the Photonics21 Board of Stakeholders. "SPIE Europe is committed to support this EU platform and move it up to the next level, to provide greater support for this vitally important research and development area. Photonics has large markets of its own and enables even larger markets. Photonics is crucial as the EU moves towards its goals of being the leader in ICT."

Malgorzata Kujawinska, professor at Politechnika Warszawska and Past President of SPIE, serves as a Vice President of Photonics21. Hugo Thienpont, professor at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and a member of the SPIE Board of Directors, and SPIE Europe Manager Karin Burger also are members.

Discussion at the annual meeting will concern reviews of 2008 activities and decisions on action items for 2009. Work groups will discuss key strategic projects and project consortia in the context of the EU 2009 Research Framework Programme 7 (FP7) calls in Photonics, coordination of national funding in Europe, and development of a European action plan to overcome the lack of qualified workforce for the photonics industry.

Kujawinska noted that, among other efforts in support of Photonics21 strategies, the topic of Next-Generation Broadband Access has been added to the scope of ERA-NET Plus activities by FP7.

In a presentation at the SPIE Europe Photonics Europe symposium in Strasbourg, France, last April, Kujawinska outlined the structure and goals of Photonics21, and explained how working groups in five industrial areas and in the area of education and training are tasked with developing strategies to implement the Photonics21 mission of helping to establish Europe as a leader in each area. View the presentation at this link. (PDF)

Photonics Europe attendees also heard about current challenges faced by the photonics community, such as enhancing visibility of the field, raising investment funding, and educating the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Partnerships -- between industry and academics; among the EU, member states, and industry; and between public and private companies and educators -- are an important part of the solution, Ronan Burgess, Scientific Project Manager in the area of Photonics at the European Commission told the audience. Burgess said that photonics has gained visibility in Europe under European Commissioner for Information Society and Media Viviane Reding, and said that the next wave of opportunity is expected to be in photonics applications and in organic and disruptive technologies. View the presentation at this link. (PDF)

Registration information for the Photonics21 Annual Meeting is available at photonics21.org

Photo caption: Malgorzata Kujawinska of Politechnika Warszawska, Vice President of Photonics21 and Past President of SPIE, outlines the Photonics21 platform before an audience at SPIE Europe Photonics Europe in April.