growth, competitiveness and employment. According to the new Information
and Communication Technologies work
program within FP7, about $156 million
will be budgeted for research on “core and
disruptive photonic technologies” for the
years 2011 and 2012.
Most current and future photonics
research projects in FP7 are carried out
by cross-national teams from industry
and academia. In fact, when it comes
to applications-oriented research, such
collaborations are mandated. ;e table to
the right shows di;erent types of projects
(which in EU terminology are called
“funding schemes”) applied by FP7.
An example of an EU-funded collaborative project is PHOSFOS—
photonic skins for optical sensing, which
was started in April 2008 and will run
through March 2011. PHOSFOS aims
to develop a flexible and stretchable foil
that integrates optical sensing elements.
;ese skins can be used to continuously
monitor the integrity and behavior of
civil engineering structures and energy
production facilities. ;e Brussels Photonics Team at Vrije Universiteit Brussel,
led by Hugo ;ienpont and Francis
Berghmans, carries out the project with
partners from Poland, the United Kingdom and Cyprus.
One of the strongest growing fields is
photovoltaics. According to the 9th annual
Photovoltaics Report of the European
Commission’s Joint Research Centre,
which was released on 6 September 2010,
newly installed PV cells generated 7. 4 GW
of power globally in 2009, of which
5. 8 were produced in Europe. ;e EU
covered 75 percent of PV cells installed in
2009. ;e market reporting the biggest
growth was Germany’s, with 3. 8 GW.
Italy ranked second with 0.73 GW, followed by Japan (0.48 GW), the United
States (0.46 GW), the Czech Republic
(0.41 GW) and Belgium (0.3 GW).
Europe’s leading position in photovoltaics is the result of its long-term strategy
of promoting collaboration between scientists, industry professionals and administrations. Many research projects across
Europe are focusing on increasing the
energy e;ciency of photovoltaic systems.
Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.
Karolinska Inst., Sweden
Imaging of macro- molecules.
Istituto Supereiore Mario Boella, Italy
Laser welding of glass
tubes for solar collectors.
Advanced modulation format for high speed transmission using DSP/FPGA platforms.
Types of European Research Projects
Focused projects carried out by consortia from different
countries and from industry and academia.
Designed for research institutions willing to combine
and functionally integrate a substantial part of their activities and capacities in a given ;eld, in order to create
a European “virtual research centre.”
Coordination and networking of projects, programs
Individual national or multinational research teams
funded by the European Research Council.
Networks of excellence
Support for training and
Research for the bene;t
of speci;c groups, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
For researchers from the EU and its research partners.
Projects where the bulk of the research is carried out by
universities, research centers or other legal entities, for
the bene;t of speci;c groups, in particular SMEs, or for
civil society organizations and their networks.
;e LasSol project, for instance—
which is funded by the German Federal
Ministry of Education and Research—is
looking to increase the e;ciency of solar
cells through selective emitter structures
with higher doping concentration. ;e
$4.3 million project runs from September 2009 until August 2012 and consists
of a consortium of partners from industry and research.
EOS has recently produced an over-
view of current European research proj-
ects in a brochure and Web gallery. ;ese
communications tools describe how optics
and photonics are addressing Europe’s
challenges of the 21st century and reflects
key areas and applications. ;ey are
aimed at scientists, policymakers and the
public, with the goal of increasing aware-
ness about the solutions that photonics
provide for 21st century challenges in
health, energy, the environment, informa-
tion technology, and more. You can access
them using the first link in the References
and Resources section. ;anks to growth
and collaboration, the light of photonics
is shining bright in Europe. t
Silke Kramprich ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is the
deputy executive director of the European Optical Society in Hannover, Germany.
[ References and Resources ]
>> European Optical Society (EOS) brochure
and web gallery: www.myeos.org/
>> EOS: www.myeos.org.
>> Photonics21 technology platform:
>> Photonics Unit of the European Commission: http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/ict/
>> European Commission’s Joint Research
>> The 7th Framework Program of the European Union in brief: http://ec.europa.eu/
>> Photonics in Italy technological platform:
>> PHOSFOS—Photonic skins for optical
>> The LasSol project: www.ot-mabrilas.de/