EU-Commission identifies Photonics as key enabling technology for Europe

In a recent Communication of the European Commission Photonics is identified as one of the Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) for Europe - next to nanotechnology, micro- and nanoelectronics, advanced materials, biotechnology.

The European Commission states that although the EU has very good research and development capacities in some key enabling technology areas it is not as successful in commercialising research results through manufactured goods and services. Improving this situation requires a more strategic approach to research, innovation and capitalisation. 

Moreover, until now, there has been no shared understanding within the EU on exactly what should be considered to be a KET.  And there is no coherent strategy on a European level on how these technologies can be better brought to industrial deployment. The Commission proposes to develop short and longer term competitiveness strategies for key enabling technologies.
It will set up a high-level expert group tasked with developing a shared longer term strategy and well co-ordinated concrete actions at European level, according to the specific maturity level of each technology.  Based on this work, the Commission will report back to the Council by end of 2010.

“The EU needs a strong innovative drive to equip itself with the means needed to secure our future competiveness and address the major societal challenges of this century. Mastering nanotechnology, micro- and nanoelectronics, biotechnology, new materials and photonics means being at the cutting edge – in the benefit of citizens." emphasises Vice-President Günter Verheugen, Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry. Photonics21 president Martin Goetzeler welcomes the initiative of the European Commission: “It is an important step forward since for the first time Photonics is not only acknowledged as an important research area, but also becomes a major part of the European industry policy. As stated by the European Commission, Photonics deserve immediate actions and a comprehensive strategy including R&D but also subsequent commercialisation will be the key. Industry and politics need to team up to tap the full potential of Photonics. The Commission has also recognised that the Technology Platforms play an important role in supporting these actions. The industry driven European Technology platform Photonics21 is ready to take its responsibility and actively contribute to this process“.

Source: Photonics21-Newsletter

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