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European photonics industry ready to invest €100 billion in research and innovation (2021–2027)

July 2019
Author: Moritz Förster
Company: Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau e.V.
European photonics industry ready to invest €100 billion in research and innovation (2021–2027)

The European Technology Platform of the photonics industry, Photonics21, published a position paper for the promotion of optical technologies during the European Union's Framework Programme Horizon Europe (2021–2027). It calls for doubling the annual EU support for the photonics network to €200 million – in return, the European photonics industry is ready to invest up to €100 billion in research and innovation.

The European Union supports research and innovation in research framework programmes for a period of seven years. During the current eighth Framework Programme Horizon 2020, photonics was categorized as a separate "Area of Intervention" and was mentioned as a "Key Enabling Technology". The network of optical technologies in the EU member states is formed by the European Technology Platform Photonics21. The ninth Framework Programme Horizon Europe will start in 2021 and will fund projects with a total of 100 billion euros. Photonics has lost its strong position in the programme, but the Photonics21 platform could still be maintained. In addition, a strategic roadmap for photonics was developed for Horizon Europe.

In the position paper (published on 17 June 2019), Photonics21 calls for an increase in funding to 200 million euros per year for the period from 2021 to 2027. Particularly in view of the large funding programs in China, South Korea and the USA, funding seems necessary to ensure the competitiveness of the European Union in the field of photonics. Optical technologies play an essential role in many important topics such as mobility, artificial intelligence, personalized healthcare, aerospace and the development of quantum technologies (sensors, computers, cryptography). The European photonics industry is prepared to invest up to 100 billion euros in research and development for new technological applications, provided that the Photonics21 platform is continued in Horizon Europe.