PhotonHub Europe together with LITEK™ attracted 19Mill Eur
PhotonHub Europe – a new pan-European photonics digital innovation hub. It has been awarded €19 million investment from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. Laser & Engineering Technologies Cluster LITEK™ alongside Brussels Photonics (B-PHOT) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Tyndall National Institute, PhotonDelta, Photonics France and other strong photonic technologies developers will provide a one-stop-shop access to a network of EU top competence centres to speed up the uptake and integration of photonics technologies in innovative products in order to make European industry more competitive, and to foster new business and business models for a Digital Europe.
PhotonHub Europe will help European SMEs and mid-caps become highly competitive digital businesses through faster and smarter deployment of photonics-based technologies, directly creating over 1.000 new high-tech EU jobs and nearly €1 billion in new revenues and venture capital by 2025.
According to Kristina Ananičienė, LITEK™ cluster manager, the digitalisation of industry is inevitable. It is only the matter of time when even the most conservative business will be forced to implement digital solutions in order to stay competitive and effective. And here come photonics-related solutions. Laser and photonic-based solutions are considered to be one of the key enabling technologies for this transaction.
“Photonics is essential to the functioning of new applications which are powering the new industrial wave – Industry 4.0 – and which are also critical to our ability to fundamentally address the enormous global societal and environmental challenges of our times”, said Prof Hugo Thienpont, Director of Brussels Photonics (B-PHOT) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and overall coordinator of PhotonHub Europe. “European industry needs to be at the forefront in innovating with photonics, making the most of our combined strengths across all parts of the innovation value chain, and working collaboratively across all member states, to support European business innovation and growth. This is the motivation behind the establishment of PhotonHub Europe which is directly building on top of over 15 year of previous European projects and collaborative efforts by all of the organisations involved in developing and integrating the infrastructure necessary for such a major undertaking”.
In order to accelerate the uptake and deployment of photonics technologies by European industry, PhotonHub will establish a single photonics innovation hub which integrates all of the best-in-class photonics technologies, facilities, expertise and experience of 53 top competence centres across Europe under one roof as a one-stop-shop solution with open access for any company anywhere in Europe that wants to innovate with photonics.
As a result, PhotonHub will provide European companies, in particular “non-photonics” SMEs and mid-caps that are first users and early adopters of photonics, with open access and guided orienteering through the PhotonHub front office in Brussels, across a broad range of services and capabilities covering:
⦁ training and upskilling supports
⦁ “test before invest” innovation support
⦁ supports to find investment
Photonics Training and Upskilling Supports
Training and upskilling supports to companies will cover both technology- and application-specific learning in photonics using lecture-based tutorials, hands-on lab-based training and “Train-the-Trainer” programmes within the hub’s 40 Demo Centres and 10 Experience Centres throughout Europe, all coordinated for consistent standards of excellence under the umbrella of the European Photonics Innovation Academy of PhotonHub.
“Test Before Invest” Innovation Support
“Test before invest” innovation support to companies will offer expertise and equipment for design, prototyping, experimentation, engineering and pilot production, with further guidance and seamless links to the industrial supply chain of manufacturing in Europe, all provided by Europe’s top research and innovation facilities offering the broadest possible range of photonics technologies covering the full value chain from early stage product concept to pre-market launch.
Supports to Find Investment
PhotonHub will help companies innovating with photonics to find investment from suitable sources of venture capital or other private/public sources of growth capital to further boost their capabilities in bringing new photonics and “photonics-enabled” products faster to market.
Cross-Border Added Value and Pan-European Networking
PhotonHub Europe will work with the local photonics hubs from the “lighthouse regions” where photonics is already well established in order to develop best practice models for SME innovation support and to disseminate these best practices widely to support the development of new innovation hubs covering most regions of Europe.
PhotonHub Europe will commence operations from early 2021 and will be operating a continuous open call for companies to apply for its support services. Applications for support will be facilitated online through the PhotonHub website located at www.photonhub.eu.
There are two important levels on which PhotonHub expects to deliver its impact. Firstly, on the digitisation and competitiveness of end-user industry in Europe in particular SMEs through the uptake of photonics. In its first four years of operation, PhotonHub expects to achieve one-to-one expert discussions on photonics innovation ideas with at least 8.000 companies – 90% of which will be SMEs – with nearly 6.000 training engagements, 280 companies benefitting from investor matchmaking, and over 250 companies receiving cross-border innovation support for TRL acceleration. PhotonHub expects that these and other support activities will in that timeframe alone directly result in the creation of over 1.000 new high-tech EU jobs and nearly 1 billion euro in new revenues generated and new venture capital raised.
Secondly, PhotonHub will also measure its impact on the wider ecosystem of local photonics hubs in Europe, and in particular the leverage factor on regional and national funding for photonics innovation which is expected to add at least another 75 million euro on top of the EC funding, as well as implementing the business plan for sustainability of PhotonHub itself, which will continue to operate as the PhotonHub Europe Association long beyond the initial 19 million euro investment from the EC.
The main source of information: PhotonHub Europe press release