24 July 2006

Launch of the UK photonics strategic review

The launch of the strategic review report on optics-based activity throughout the UK by the Department of Trade & Industry acknowledged the strength of technical innovation in the UK and highlighted the strong growth that is predicted for photonics products worldwide.

"The UK has excellent research credentials in photonics, but it lacks a coherent and co-ordinated strategy for developing and applying the technology," said Ian Vance, chair of the strategy group, at a launch event in London on 13 July. One new initiative to address his problem is the formation of a Photonics Knowledge Transfer Network (PKTN), which was also launched at the event.

Other key recommendations include:

  • the establishment of a strategic body to represent UK photonics. This will essentially be formed from the strategy group that produces the report, and will become the main force to drive forward the other recommendations.
  • raising the profile of photonics in the UK, both within the UK and internationally.
  • ensuring the supply of trained photonics engineers and technicians.
  • ensuring that the UK remains an attractive location for photonics activities.
  • identifying a series of "grand challenges", similar to those set by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, that are aligned to future needs in areas such as healthcare, security and energy efficiency.

For more information see "UK photonics strategy seeks commercial success" in the business section of the July 2006 Opto Laser Europe electronics magazine at

Back to top