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Illumination & Displays

EU VP accepts Photonics21 vision document at Brussels meeting

SPIE Newsroom
24 February 2011

Martin Goetzler, Neelie Kroes, and Klaas Vetger, in Brussels, 24 February.

Martin Goetzeler, CEO of Osram and Photonics21 President, Vice Presient Neelie Kroes, and Klaas Vetger, CTO of Philips Lighting and Photonics 21 Executive Board member, at the Brussels meeting on 24 February. (Photo: SPIE)

Emphasizing the importance of an innovation-friendly market as well as support for research, European Commission Vice President responsible for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes accepted the Photonics21 Vision document from Photonics21 President Martin Goetzeler during the association's annual meeting in Brussels on 24 February.

"I am convinced that research and innovation must be at the heart of new growth in Europe," Kroes said in her speech to the gathering. "I believe that photonics is a major opportunity for Europe."

Mentioning past efforts including flat-panel displays, where Europe was a research leader but lost out on production to Asia, she stressed the importance of "bridges between potential and the resources needed for commercialization." The EU's role, she said, is "to speed up the path from lab to market."

She invited participants to be bold, but to work collaboratively and efficiently. She encouraged public-private partnerships and urged participants to be "ambassadors" for more research and innovation in their respective countries. "You can count on me to do my bit and to make sure photonics gets the support it needs," she said. She promised to increase her involvement with young researchers and entrepreneurs.

SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs, attending the meeting, complimented the work done by Photonics21 and the EC's Photonics Unit in having photonics named as one of only five key enabling technologies for Europe.

"The recognition of photonics both as a substantial market itself and as an enabling technology that is key to advanced manufacturing and substantial consumer markets brings focus and coherence to European efforts both to continue a legacy of research leadership but now also to turn that into economic benefit," Arthurs said. "The enabling aspect leverages the economic impact of photonics by a multiple of at least 20 of the actual photonics content. Photonics21 is putting Europe in a strong position to benefit from the 'century of the photon.' "

Arthurs is a member of the Photonics21 Board of Stakeholders. The Photonics21 Annual Meeting is sponsored by SPIE Europe and other professional societies as well as industry.

According to the Photonics 21 report, the current global photonics market is estimated at €300 billion, and the leveraged impact of photonics in other enabled industries is substantially greater in terms of turnover and employment levels. Of this global market, Europe has an overall share of 20%, rising to as much as 45% in specific key photonic sectors. The photonics companies themselves currently employ about 290,000 people in Europe, and subcontractors employ many more.

Photonics21 website: press release
Optics.org: Photonics21 hands "Vision" paper to EC

SPIE President Katarina Svanberg and Thomas Skordas, head of the EU Photonics Unit, at the Photonics21 Annual Meeting

SPIE President Katarina Svanberg and Thomas Skordas, head of the EU Photonics Unit, at the Photonics21 annual meeting in Brussels