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SPIE Professional October 2010: Bonus Web Content

Europe, US Still Have Funding

Despite the economic downturn, governments, universities, and other organizations have money to fund your next photonics research program, innovative device, or disruptive photonic technology. The European Commission, for instance, announced in late September one of the biggest work programs ever for research in information and communication technologies (ICT).

The EC's ICT call for proposals No. 7 will result in project funding of nearly €780 million for 2011, much of it photonics-related.

SPIE wants to see its members succeed. A sampling of some of the funding opportunities available, as of October 2010, are listed below. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list.

European Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)

FP7 Europe logoThe EU work programme for ICT research in 2011 and 2012 is published by the EU's Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS). It covers calls for energy-efficient buildings, OLAE research and numerous related activities.

The EU is expected to spend a record €9.1 billion on ICT R&D through 2013. In Call No. 7, €120 million of the €780 million for 2011 will be available to fund research and technological developments in networking, digital media and service infrastructure for the future internet. EU-funded ICT research projects support more than 15,000 researchers every year and stimulate Europe's capacity to innovate.

FP7, which runs from 2007 until 2013, bundles all research-related EU initiatives together under a common roof to reach the goals of growth, competitiveness, and employment. It also includes a new Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP), education and training programmes, and Structural and Cohesion Funds for regional convergence and competitiveness.

The increase for ICT research is in accord with the Digital Agenda for Europe, which calls for doubling annual public spending on ICT R&D by 2020 and leveraging an equivalent increase in private spending to achieve the goals of Europe's 2020 strategy for jobs and growth. These funds provide major opportunities for innovative SMEs.

Technology Strategy Board (UK)

The Technology Strategy Board has allocated up to £18 million to fund collaborative research and development projects in the UK in the fields of photonics, nanotechnology, and other areas. The competition for funding will be in two stages, with initial expressions of interest submitted by 18 November.

U.S. Government Grants

logo for U.S. grant WebsiteGrants.gov is the best starting point to find and apply for U.S. federal grants. The U.S. government will spend an estimated $143.4 billion for R&D in 2011. Although less than $10 billion is budgeted for general science funding, much of the funds designated for defense R&D ($82 billion), health ($32 billion), and other areas can and do use optics and photonics technologies.

Other resources for federal grants in the United States

The National Science Foundation plans to hold a webinar in November on the Accelerating Innovation Research (AIR) solicitation and its Industrial Innovation and Partnerships program.

NEXPRESSO (Network for EXchange and PRototype Evaluation of PhotonicS ComponentS and Optical systems)

NEXPRESSO logoNEXPRESSO is a new FP7 programme launched in June 2010 that advances the successful ACCORD project. It will run for three years.

It issued its first call in August 2010 to help speed up the time to market through cooperation between SMEs and researchers on prototype development.

The first call for photonic component suppliers closes 8 October, but the calls to European universities and end-users will be open through June 2011.

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (UK)

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the main government agency in the UK for funding research and training in engineering and the physical sciences, investing more than £850 million a year.

  • Andre Geim, a University of Manchester professor who shared this year's Nobel Prize for Physics for groundbreaking work on graphene, was awarded an EPSRC grant of more than £5 million in October 2009.
  • Cardiff University's Paola Borri recently won a £1.1 million grant from the EPSRC for research using optical nanoscopy that holds promise for finding a treatment for Alzheimer's disease, HIV, and influenza.

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) 

The DFG promotes research in all fields of science and the humanities.

Miscellaneous Funding News

The European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC) reports that its members participating in EPIC initiatives during fiscal year 2009 received an 11-fold return on investment.

Researchers at Toshiba Research Europe and University of Cambridge (UK), using an entangled light-emitting diode, or ELED, have succeeded in generating entangled photons using electricity alone, without laser power.

A Stakeholders Day for the European Digital Agenda will be held 25 October in Brussels. The programme will include workshops and a discussion of initiatives proposed by the public as well as a plenary session with EC Vice President Neelie Kroes, who is responsible for the Digital Agenda, and Robert Madelin, director general for Information Society and Media.

University spending on research and development in science and engineering (S&E) increased 5.8% between FY 2008 and FY 2009 to $54.9 billion, according to FY 2009 data from the National Science Foundation Survey of Research and Development Expenditures at Universities and Colleges. When adjusted for inflation, academic R&D rose by 4.2% in FY 2009. More

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded three new OLED lighting small-business grants to Universal Display. The largest project is in Phase II already, and is focused on the development of "ultra-high-efficiency" phosphorescent OLEDs for lighting applications". UDC will produce a white OLED that features 120lm/W efficiency by improving out-coupling of light from the OLED structure through high-index substrates and low-voltage operation. The second will focus on thermal management issues and optical improvements. UDC will make 15cm square panels with various designs, to see the thermal impacts of each. Lower temperature operation will help to extend the lifetime of the OLEDs. The last project addresses light extraction issues. UDC will develop low-cost thin materials that has improved light extraction.

The government of Singapore in September announced a $16.1 billion national budget for R&D, for 2011 to 2015. More

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