R&D in Photonics in Germany and Europe

Friday, 14 February 2014
Water Tower (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Frank Schlie-Roosen , German Ministry of Education and Research, Bonn, Germany
Solid state lighting, 3D image sensing for computer games, and photovoltaics are examples of how photonics is evolving from an insider´s specialty to a main stream business enabler. Thus, a German „harnessing light 2.0“ agenda was commissioned by the federal government early in 2010 with the goal of including industries which had not been part of the photonics community before. Some 300 experts participated in a process which eventually led to „photonics research germany“, a federal R&D programme that officially was anounced in may 2011. Set up to last 10 years and to spend 1 bn €, it is aiming mainly at industry-led R&D-projects, understanding that industry will add up another 1 bn € for the funded projects, followed by additional investment for taking the R&D results to market. Focussing on joint projects the programme helps to develop and sustain networks which cover the whole value chain. In addition, communication channels adressing financial analysts and young professionals are being built up in order to establish photonics as an important future key technology to be regarded for investment and career choices. Following the development in several member countries, photonics R&D is becoming an important issue also at the European level under the new R&D supporting scheme to be started in 2014 („horizon 2020“). Here, photonics is regarded as one of a few „key enabling technologies“ which will mark scientific and industrial competition frontiers in the years to come.