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Signing of Horizon 2020 partnership will strengthen European photonics, says Kroes

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Photonics21 Vice Presidents Bernd Schulte and Giorgio Anania and EU Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes signed the Photonics PPP contract (Photonics21)

Photonics21 Vice Presidents Bernd Schulte and Giorgio Anania and EU Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes officially signed the Photonics PPP contract on 17 December. (Photo: Photonics21)

The European Commission has launched eight contractual Public Private Partnerships (cPPPs) of strategic importance for European industry. The partnerships will leverage more than €6 billion of investments to be allocated through calls for proposals under Horizon 2020, the new EU programme for research and innovation. Each euro of public funding is expected to trigger additional investments of between three and 10 euro to develop new technologies, products and services that will give European industry a leading position on world markets.

In a video released in advance of the 17 December signature of the Photonics Public Private Partnership (PPP) between the European Commission and the Photonics21 Association, European Commissioner Neelie Kroes points out the key role that photonics industry and research will play in advancing Europe's competitiveness in the 2014-2020 time period. Kroes calls the PPP "a crown jewel of Horizon 2020," representing more than 1000 players.

Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument of the European Commission that runs from 2014 to 2020 with a budget of more than €70 billion. The EU's new programme for research and innovation is part of the drive to create new growth and jobs in Europe.

In Horizon 2020, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have been integrated into the three different pillars -- Excellent Science, Industrial Leadership, and Societal Challenges. The ICT "Challenges" fall under the Leadership in Enabling & Industrial Technologies (LEIT) pillar, which will contain the following sub-programmes:

  • New generation of components and systems
  • Advanced computing
  • Future internet
  • Content technologies and information management
  • Robotics
  • Micro- and nano-electronic technologies, Photonics
  • ICT for manufacturing and Factory of the Future

The LEIT programme will also support the Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) micro- and nanoelectronics, photonics, and robotics, as well as other cross-sectorial KETs.

Kroes said that the coordinated approach to photonics should result in faster innovation processes and quicker time to market, maintaining areas where Europe is a leader, and developing those where progress is needed.

"In the coming years, I hope this partnership can bring us a European photonics industry that is stronger, more competitive, and more innovative," she said.

The eight contractual Public-Private Partnerships are:

  • Factories of the Future (FoF), to support the manufacturing industry through the development of sustainable production technologies and systems
  • Energy-efficient Buildings (EeB), to increase the competitiveness and energy efficiency of the construction industry
  • European Green Vehicles Initiative (EGVI), to develop a competitive and resource efficient transport system with significantly less CO2 emissions
  • Sustainable Process Industry (SPIRE), to make the process industry more resource- and energy-efficient
  • Photonics, one of the key enabling technologies for our future prosperity and an essential element of many sectors, from energy and health, to everyday products like DVD players and mobile phones
  • Robotics, a key driver of industrial competitiveness and essential to address key societal challenges in areas such as demographic change, health and well-being, food production, transport and security
  • High Performance Computing (HPC), which plays a pivotal role in stimulating Europe's economic growth and advancing European science
  • Advanced 5G networks for the Future Internet (5G), to stimulate the development of network internet infrastructure to ensure advanced ICT services for all sectors and users.

"These PPPs will maintain our global lead in robotics, photonics, high performance computing, telecoms and give us a head start in smart cities, intelligent transport, education, entertainment, media and other promising markets," Kroes 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", said Bernd Schulte, Vice President and Executive Board Member of Photonics21. "As a key enabling technology, photonics plays a pivotal role in the re-industrialization of Europe, and expanding the industry share of the European economy beyond the current 16% by 2020."

For more information about Horizon 2020 and photonics, see the links below.