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SPIE Professional January 2013

Jenoptik’s Mertin takes leadership role at Europe tech platform Photonics21

logo for Photonics 21Michael Mertin, president of SPIE corporate member Jenoptik (Germany) since 2007, is the new president of the European technology platform Photonics21 and will lead the optics and photonics community during a new phase of Europe’s research and innovation funding program.

Mertin was elected to the position by the Photonics21 Board of Stakeholders in November. He pledged to gain and defend a competitive position for optics and photonics under the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 program, the €80 billion R&D funding program which takes effect in 2014.

SPIE 2012 President Eustace Dereniak congratulated Mertin and commended him for his active engagement with SPIE and his experience as a visionary leader.

Eugene Arthurs (left) congratulates Jenoptik President and CEO Michael Mertin on his election as president of Photonics21.

Mertin “has a strong understanding of the importance of the industry-academia collaborations through which new technologies become applications that result in creative solutions to problems across every area of life,” Dereniak says.

Mertin’s successes at Jenoptik and comprehensive knowledge of and experience in business administration make him “an excellent choice to coordinate the diverse elements of the European photonics industry in the role of president of Photonics21,” adds SPIE Executive Director Eugene Arthurs.

The 46-year-old expert on lasers, leadership, and business strategy has been active with Photonics21 for several years and serves on the board of the German high-tech industry association Spectaris. He is a member of the federal and Thuringian executive committees of the German Council of Economic Advisors and chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Fraunhofer-Institute für Angewandte Optik und Feinmechanik (IOF) in Jena.

His work with all aspects of Jenoptik’s business has boosted the company’s success. Currently employing 3100 staff around the world, Jenoptik is also the lead sponsor of the SPIE Startup Challenge, a business-pitch competition at SPIE Photonics West that awards cash prizes as well as business development training.

Photonics21 is an industry-driven program to unify and advance the optical technologies community in Europe. Established in December 2005, its successes include the naming of photonics as one of five “key enabling technologies” by the EC in 2009.

  • Photonics21 will hold its annual meeting 27-28 March in Brussels.

Mertin, who succeeds Martin Goetzeler of Osram, noted that with Europe’s economic crisis, it is “crucial” to ensure that every euro in the Horizon 2020 program is spent wisely.

“Photonics21 will support this endeavor through the establishment of a Public-Private-Partnership and an industry pledge to a four-fold leverage of public funding,” he told the Board of Stakeholders. “This future PPP is the expression of our full commitment to pursue cooperation between private and public sectors and the perfect instrument to strengthen Europe’s innovation capacity.”

Mertin studied physics at the RWTH Aachen and received his doctorate in engineering from the Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik (FHG-ILT) in the field of laser materials processing and surface technology.

Mertin previously worked for Carl Zeiss in Oberkochen as head of Technology and Coating. After a merger that resulted in the founding of Carl Zeiss Vision International, he became vice president of Technology and Processes.

  • Mertin shared his perspective on the growth of Jenoptik as well as the German optical industry in a 2011 SPIE Newsroom interview.
  • Read more about Michael Mertin and Photonics21 in the SPIE Newsroom.
  • Learn about Horizon 2020, Europe's new program for photonics research and innovation.

DOI: 10.1117/2.4201301.22

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