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Photonics Leaders Gather for Launch of Fraunhofer UK Research

London, UK (PRWEB) May 27, 2013

Leaders from throughout the photonics community including SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, were on hand 23 May at the Royal Academy of Engineering for the launch of Fraunhofer UK Research by UK Secretary of State for Business, Innovation, and Skills and MP for Twickenham Vince Cable. The first Fraunhofer Centre in the UK, the Centre for Applied Photonics (CAP), is hosted by Strathclyde University in Glasgow.

Establishment of Fraunhofer UK is intended to pave the way for a major acceleration in high-tech innovation through partnerships with universities and industry to develop and commercialize the country's top research.

"The UK produces some of the most pioneering scientific research in the world but we need to ensure our best ideas are developed to a stage where they can be easily adopted by business, generating the commercial success that fuels growth," Business Secretary Cable said at the launch event." Fraunhofer has a proven track record in bringing new ideas and technologies to market across the world."

"Sitting at the interface between universities and industry, Fraunhofer will help the UK create a powerful innovation system from blue-skies research to applied research and development and from prototyping and small-scale production to full-scale manufacturing," said Tim Holt, Executive Director of Fraunhofer UK.

Fraunhofer, with more than 20,000 employees in 66 Fraunhofer institutes in Germany and many more in its nearly two dozen other facilities in other countries including the U.S.A., Portugal, and Italy, has earned wide praise for its technology transfer model.

"In a world keenly in need of the many benefits that photonics technology transfer has to offer -- including economic vitality and solving the challenges of this changing world -- the Fraunhofer institutes lead the way," said SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs. "They were early developers of successful tech transfer processes and have established practices that have resulted in the creation and commercialization of numerous important inventions. The Fraunhofer approach of bringing research and development under the same roofs, with student and faculty pursuing both pure and applied research, and engineers, technologists, and marketing teams providing input about applications ideas along with development, is a well-proven strategy. The involvement of industry is a crucial element of this success."

The first Fraunhofer UK facility celebrated its opening in April, when the CAP presented an inaugural symposium and tours of its labs. The centre was established with funding from Germany-based Fraunhofer, the University of Strathclyde, the Scottish government, Scottish Enterprise, and the Scottish Funding Council.

Martin Dawson, a professor at the Strathclyde Institute of Photonics who has been appointed Head of the Glasgow facility, listed research and development projects to be undertaken by the CAP including:

  •      laser sources for medical imaging systems that could revolutionize imaging technologies enabling high-resolution deep-tissue imaging for neuroscience and cancer research.
  •     advanced lasers that can detect substances at long-range such as atmospheric pollution
  •     novel laser sources which can be used to aid the positioning of wind turbine farms to maximize the efficiency of the site location and help predict wind direction and strength.

"The new Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics in Glasgow will be able to reach out to companies across the UK," Dawson said. "The Fraunhofer model bridges the gap between university research and industry to boost the regional, national and international economy."

Sir Richard Friend (University of Cambridge), Sir Peter Knight (Imperial College London), Sir David Payne (University of Southampton), professors Donal Bradley (Imperial College London) and Wilson Sibbett (University of St. Andrews), UK Photonics Leadership Group General Manager Chris Dorman (Coherent Scotland) and CEO John Lincoln, Director of Photonics at Electronics, Sensors, and Photonics KTN Alastair Wilson, and many other invited guests from the photonics community attended the London event.

About SPIE

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. The Society serves more than 235,000 constituents from approximately 155 countries, offering conferences, continuing education, books, journals, and a digital library in support of interdisciplinary information exchange, professional networking, and patent precedent. SPIE provided over $3.2 million in support of education and outreach programs in 2012.

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