PLG website disruption

We are transferring the PLG website to a new hosting provider and apologise for any down time in the next few days, including to email contact.

MBDA publish 2017 technology challenges for photonics and RF

In collaboration with the Knowledge Transfer Network, MDBA have published 17 key challenges to which they are seeking innovative solutions- many of which require novel photonics or hybrid photonics and radio frequency solutions.  Outline responses are requested by 6 October 2017.

Financing company growth

As a high growth industry, continually targeting new markets, there are few photonics companies that have not had to raise capital .  As UK photonics companies have grown most have faced tough decisions between sustaining growth, raising equity finance and/or partnering with a strategic industry investor through trade sale.

UK government is reviewing the availability of ‘patient capital’ including reasons why many UK firms sell earlier and have fewer rounds of investment than elsewhere in world.  Input is sort on potential policy options, including the effectiveness of existing interventions and what additional support may be effective.

Given the need to access capital to grow and the photonics industry’s considerable experience with all the various options we encourage direct company input to the review by 22 September.  Responding online is possible, although the consultation asks more extensive questions on future options and their relevance which many will prefer to respond to and submit via email (e.g. what scale of investment should the government seek to unlock and over what time frame).

UK Photonics in H2020

As the UK policy paper on Collaboration on science and innovation: a future partnership is published we have taken a quick look at the participation of UK photonics industry in Horizon2020.

  • 34% of all ~14,000 H2020 projects over all topics and subjects have at least 1 UK partner
  • 8.5% of all H2020 projects with a total value of €1.9bn include some photonics*
    • An illustration of the enabling and underpinning role photonics innovation has across all applications.
  • 30% of the H2020 projects including photonics have at least one UK partner -more than any other EU country and much greater than the ~20% UK photonics market share in Europe
    • Illustrating the importance of continuing to have access to those collaborations for all parties.
  •  Over €800m worth of projects involving photonics and at least one UK partner have been supported by H2020 in the last 3 years with an EU contribution of €727m.
    • Quantifying the value of H2020 to advancing photonics enabled innovation and adoption in the UK.

*based on the inclusion of photonics, optics, lasers or their derivatives in H2020 project descriptions as available from CORDIS

Photonics Grand Challenges

Draft Photonics Grand Challenges

Draft Photonic Grand Challenges

Photonics continues to develop rapidly,  driven by diversification into new applications and rapid expansion of existing applications.  This presents the industry, in the UK,  with a number of challenges.  The PLG are currently capturing and summarising these challenges and what actions may have a transformative impact on them and the industry.

The current draft of the photonics grand challenge map is available for review.  This continues to be updated with community input and will be refined at the next PLG meeting on October 15.  If you would like to input,  comment and improve on this map of the principle challenges faced by our industry in the UK please contact us.

with thanks to support from The Future Photonics Hub

UK photonics now worth £12.9billion to economy

UK photonics industry output now exceeds £12.9 billion, is growing at twice the national average with 3X the average UK productivity per worker.

This updated analysis of the UK photonics industry shows a rise of £2.4 bn since the last report in 2013, recording an average growth rate of  >5.3%, which finds UK photonics to be growing at twice the speed of the rest of the UK economy.

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PLG response to the UK Industry Strategy Green Paper

The Photonics Leadership Group has submitted a full response to the UK industry strategy green paper consultation based on broad ranging industry input and our analysis of the green paper.

The PLG looks forward to working with government to develop a detailed sector strategy for Photonics following the election on 8 June 2017

Next PLG meeting 4 May London

The next PLG meeting will be on 4 May in London, 2-5pm.  The main topic of discusion will be creating a Sector Deal for Photonics.  If you are intersting in attending and not currently a contributor to the PLG  please contact us

Industry Strategy – what does it mean for photonics

Published on 23Jan 2017, the UK’s latest industrial strategy presents many opportunities  for photonics summarised in our compressed analysis of the industry strategy

View Westminster Hall debate regarding Photonics

The Westminster Hall debate regarding Photonics can be viewed in full online (timing from 11:00am on with respond from Jo Johnston, MP Minister for Universities Science and Research and Innovation from 11:16. Read more of this post