Whether in Florida or Arizona or in numerous regions throughout Europe and Asia, members of optics and photonics clusters around the world are actively building and maintaining research and workforce ties to strengthen the industry.
A new Web site for photonics clusters (spie.org/clusters) includes a comprehensive directory of 30 groups of optics-related firms and universities who network with local industry and government leaders, create jobs, and generally promote the benefits of a regional association of companies and institutions. SPIE also hosts a number of business and social gatherings at symposia to support these clusters. A cluster summit will be held at SPIE Photonics West in January 2009.
Study Shows Diversity of Development For Clusters
SPIE is distributing a study on developing photonics clusters, comparing four major photonics clusters in Germany, England, and the United States. It concludes that cluster boundaries and identities are often blurred because of the enabling character of many photonics technologies.
The 2007 study by AIM Research describes the varied ways a photonics cluster can be developed and sustained and notes that none were being led by a single "hub firm." Instead, they are collaboratively created and governed by a diverse group of mostly research firms, university research centers, and small- and medium-sized enterprises.
The report is titled Developing Photonics Clusters: Commonalities, Contrasts and Contradictions and is available at no cost at spie.org/clusters
- A Cluster "Meet-Up" at SPIE Optics+Photonics in August brought a small group of optics educators and industry representatives together to discuss ways to enhance their political lobbying and public awareness efforts for optics and science.
- The first European Photonics Clusters meeting at SPIE Europe Photonics Europe in France in April resulted in agreement among 55 attendees that most clusters could use some form of public funding, particularly for startup activities. European clusters have a diverse membership, with clusters oriented around a single specialized technology, and those that encompass the whole spectrum of optics in industry and academia.
- The Florida Photonics Cluster (FPC) has expanded its services and announced a meeting and open house for 2 October where a seminar on online marketing and search engine optimization will be given. FPC president Alex Fong, vice president for marketing at Optronic Laboratories in Orlando, and FPC executive director James Pearson of the University of Central Florida report that 30 organizations are now members of the FPC. A podcast, "Shining a Spotlight on the Science of Light" is available on iTunes.
- Representatives from Le Pôle Optique et Photonique Sud, the photonics cluster known as POPsud, met with SPIE leadership, volunteers, and others at the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille (LAM) in June during the SPIE Astronomical Instrumentation Symposium. Among those discussing the work of photonics clusters were SPIE President-Elect María Yzuel; Jacques Boulesteix, director of LAM and president of the Scientific Council of POPsud; François Flory, treasurer of POPsud; and Jean-Gabriel Cuby, also of LAM.
- The New York Photonics cluster is hosting the 10th annual Glass Cartel Clambake 20 October in Rochester.