Minister Announces new Photonics National Technology Platform at Photonics Ireland 2015 Conference

On the opening night of the Photonics Ireland 2015 conference, an invited audience of more than 300 photonics experts, from industry & academia, and policy makers with a shared interest in putting Ireland at the forefront of the global photonics market, descended on Cork’s City Hall to launch a new National Technology Platform (NTP) called ‘Photonics Ireland’. The initiative will play a major role in mobilising Ireland’s photonics activities so that Ireland can capture a share of the projected market of €600 billion by 2020 and the expected major job growth across Europe in the next 5 years.

Photonics is the generation, manipulation and utilisation of light and is a key enabling technology driving growth in the ICT and medical device sectors in Ireland – forming the backbone of the internet and using light based technologies for early detection of disease and the development of smart surgical instruments.

With a rapidly developing photonics industry and access to world class photonics researchers, Ireland is in a prime position to leverage this burgeoning market. By bringing the key stakeholders together, the Photonics Ireland platform aims to generate and deliver a common vision and strategy across the Irish photonics community in order to connect Irish strengths to emerging market opportunities.

Launching the Photonics Ireland ‘Making Light Work’ action plan, Damien English, TD, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation commented; “Photonics is one of the globe’s most important future industries and an area in which Ireland can flourish. By harnessing the strength of the Irish photonics community through this National Technology Platform, we can significantly maximise Ireland’s position as world leader in this field. This platform is a leading example of how Irish research bodies and industry can come together to define a common strategy and identify and execute activities which will drive job creation and develop technologies that will significantly improve all our day to day lives”

The Platform, which is co-ordinated by the SFI funded Irish Photonic Integration Centre (IPIC) will deliver a suite of research and innovation actions focused on the areas of technology, incubation and training – all which will deliver greater investment to photonic start-ups and SMEs, access to world-leading research & technology while also meeting the ever growing photonics skills needs of Ireland’s high tech sectors through a number of training and outreach activities. It will also create a vehicle to engage with similar national platforms across Europe and to assist Irish companies develop partnerships with Europe’s leading photonics companies and universities.

Speaking at the launch, Professor Paul Townsend, Chairman of the Photonics Ireland Conference and Director of IPIC said: “As evidenced by the large and diverse attendance here tonight and throughout the duration of the Photonics Ireland conference, Ireland’s photonics ecosystem is thriving. There are over 300,000 people directly employed in the photonics industry in Europe and the global market is currently estimated to be €350 billion – leading to huge potential for Ireland’s photonics research and industrial community.  With high profile announcements such as President Barack Obama’s $200 million endorsement of an integrated photonics institute in the U.S., the importance of photonics is being recognised across the globe. The time is now right to put an action plan in place to secure our capabilities for the future”

The implementation of the Photonics Ireland Action plan will be coordinated and facilitated by a Governing Committee composed of representatives from industry, the IDA, Enterprise Ireland, SFI, National Research Centres and Academia.

For further information on the photonics Ireland platform visit: www.photonicsireland.ie

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