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Optical Design & Engineering

Canadian study says 10x ROI for stimulus investments in photonics

SPIE Newsroom
20 January 2010

Building a next generation of successful innovation companies will in turn generate long-term jobs, exports, tax bases, and ultimately pay the tab on the short-term stimulus spending, according to a recent impact report issued in Canada.

The Canadian photonics industry, employing an estimated 20,000 people in 400 companies, currently offers an innovation infrastructure ROI example that shows a nearly 10-dollar return for every dollar invested. This is based on a $52 million federal government investment in the National Research Council Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre (NRC-CPFC), a unique resource created in 2002 that KMPG LLP estimates will generate $500 million in economic benefits over the next years according to the Impact Analysis of the Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre (PDF).

Canada's photonics industry generates close to $4.5 billion annually, with approximately 85% from exports including 50% to the U.S. The industry has its roots in the telecommunications sector, but with active diversification in the past decade, only 20% of today's companies now address telecom, with the rest creating exciting new applications in defense and security, health and medical, consumer electronics, remote sensing and measurement, green energy and manufacturing.

NRC-CPFC is a photonics prototyping and training facility that provides commercial-grade fabrication services dedicated to the creation of photonic device prototypes. NRC-CPFC supports the growth of the Canadian photonics sector by offering clients and partners cutting-edge photonics fabrication services; and simulation, design, fabrication, testing and prototyping services to help move innovative photonics devices to market.

Infrastructure projects like CPFC-NRC substantially reduce startup and product development costs, reduce technology risk for entrepreneurs and encourage investment by the venture capital community.

CPFC-NRC is an exhibitor at SPIE Photonics West (26-28 January in San Francisco) in the Canadian Cluster Pavilion in the North Exhibition Hall at the Moscone Center (Booth 4515).

Article by Blair Patacairk, Senior Consultant, Investment, Ottawa Centre of Research and Innovation (OCRI)