Overview of KTN photonics activity in 2019
Posted on 16/12/2019
“Our support for photonics has seen us working with stakeholder groups across the UK, briefing on funding opportunities, and supporting diversity and inclusion in the sector.”
There are a number of photonics and related stakeholder groups and associations in the nations and regions of the UK. These include the Torbay Hi-Tech Forum, the Welsh Optoelectronics Forum, Photonics Scotland (the new name for the Scottish Optoelectronics Association), the UK Lighting Liaison Group, and the Association for Industrial Laser Users. Additionally, the UK Photonics Leadership Group gives a voice to the full breadth of photonics across the UK and has regular representation from other groups at its meetings.
In 2019 KTN continued to work with all these groups to support the growth of UK photonics and promotion of the sector more widely. We were also out and about at a number of meetings and events including Scottish Photonics Week, the T@CST Forum, Photonex Europe, and the Hamamatsu Photonics Days London.
Funding for photonics this year
Photonics is an underpinning technology that reaches across ISCF from optical communications and data storage in AI and Data Economy to laser sensors for autonomous vehicles in Future of Mobility. The start of 2019 saw the opening of the Electronics, Sensors and Photonics for Robotics in Extreme Environments competition, which had a wide enabling technologies remit, including photonics. Shortly afterwards was the EUREKA Network in Photonics competition, that opened during UK’s EUREKA Chairmanship period and providing funding for UK companies to work with partners in other countries. We worked with local stakeholders to run briefings for these competitions across the UK.
Most recently we delivered a series of briefings for the Horizon2020 ICT36 and ICT37 photonics calls (which are still open for submissions – links below) running workshops with partners in Edinburgh (EEN Scotland/Scottish Enterprise), Newport (Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult) and Southampton (University of Southampton) to provide information on the call topics and to support potential applicants in creating a successful programme, looking in particular at the scope and impact sections. Additionally, we held a meeting at the Institute of Physics for parties interested in the Digital Innovation Hub call.
KTN is a partner in the Horizon2020 NextPho21 project, which supports the Photonics21 European Public Private Partnership. This was an important year for European photonics due to the development of the Horizon Europe structure and it was important to ensure that the economic important of photonics was reflected in the new funding landscape. To support this effort KTN worked closely with the Photonics Leadership Group to provide data on UK photonics and links with industrial strategy in support of the UK position.
In September, as part of the Photonics21 Photonics4 series, we ran the Photonics4Food event bringing together end users in the food sector with photonics technology providers.
Supporting diversity and inclusion in photonics
KTN is a founding partner in the Opening Up Photonics (OuP) series of events, with University of Glasgow, Photonics Scotland and IOP. OuP provides positive measures to support equality and diversity in the sector. In October, OuP partnered with Equate Scotland to deliver the first of a series of training workshops exploring practical suggestions for improving gender diversity within businesses. The October workshop looked at how inclusive language in job descriptions, advertising and marketing can attract more diverse applicants, and how recruitment processes can be improved to tackle bias. The session provided practical steps forward. The next OUP event, again partnering with Equate Scotland will focus on unconscious bias and embedding culture change.
It’s looking like 2020 will be equally busy for photonics, as the Horizon Europe programme will be further developed, and we’ll be working with Photonics21 to maximise the opportunity for economic growth with photonic technologies across Europe. Closer to home, we will continue to connect photonics and researchers to end users in support of UK economic growth through innovation. However, the opportunities for growth can’t be fully realised without increasing the diversity of the sector so we look forward to continuing actively supporting the Opening Up Photonics initiative.