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SUPA helps shape the future of European photonics funding

In 2014, Photonics21 published a “multiannual strategic roadmap”, setting out a strategy for European photonics to solve the grand societal challenges and to generate sustainable economic growth in Europe. On a practical level, this document outlined priorities for Horizon2020 funding calls between 2014 and 2020. Photonics21 has continued to refine and update this priorities and propose call topics to the European Commission since then. On the 1st and 2nd March this year, the Photonics21 annual meeting kicked off the process to propose the final photonics calls of Horizon2020, with SUPA and the UK photonics community very much involved.

Recognising the importance of European funding for Scotland’s universities and their industrial partners, the Scottish Funding Council has provided funding, known as PEER, to allow SUPA to compete for EU monies. The funding can be used to provide consultant support for proposals, and to travel for pre-proposal consortium meetings and networking events. Working with the UK Photonics Leadership Group, SUPA made strategic use of the funds for the Photonics21 meeting to ensure that the 7 different Photonics21 Work Groups were covered, and to allow SUPA academics to gain experience of the process by which calls are developed.

The meeting began with addresses by Günther Oettinger, EU Comissioner for Digital Economy and Society, and Michael Mertin, Photonics21 President and CEO Jenoptik. Both speakers outlined the importance of photonics in European industry and emphasised the importance of putting photonics at the heart of the digitization of industry (expect to hear more about this in future calls). Then was then a “walking dinner” which provided an excellent opportunity to make new contacts and catch up with existing ones. The next day there were presentations which outlined the statistics from previous calls and discussed the International Year of Light before the Work Groups got down to the main business of prioritising call topics for 2018-2020.

An overview of the discussions from the Work Groups will be available shortly via the Photonics Leadership Group and will also be made available via the SUPA newsletter and website. All Work Groups will be continuing the discussions via email and face-to-face meetings in the coming months, and funding will be available to SUPA academics to attend these meetings and to attend Photonics21 or other European Technology Platform meetings.

Useful links:
SUPA PEER funding and calls of interest in 2016-2017 programme:…
Photonics Leadership Group: