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New strategy shows photonics key to Europe’s Industrial future


13 Mar 2020


The EC’s ambitious new Industrial Strategy names Photonics among a list of KETs which are vital to the industrial transformation of Europe by 2030.

Photonics and a whole host of Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) have been identified as drivers of the industrial and digital transformations of Europe in the European Commission’s new Industrial Strategy for Europe.

KETs will have a key role to play in helping Europe build a more circular economy, become a climate-neutral continent, uphold a global level playing field and develop a deeper and more digital single market.

The ambitious strategic document sets out plans for the future of Europe’s digital transformation, security and technological sovereignty by 2030.

Intending to help Europe's industry lead the transitions towards climate neutrality and digital leadership, the strategy sets out its support for the development of photonics as a Key Enabling Technology.

The announcement in the strategy comes as a boost for the European photonics industry which is estimated to be worth €70 billion, directly employs over 300,000 people and is the second-highest manufacturer of photonics equipment globally.

Photonics21 Executive Board member Jean-Luc Beylat said: “The entire European photonics community and its partners welcome the continued support for photonics as a Key Enabling Technology in the European Commission’s new Industrial Strategy for Europe.

“With the likelihood of photonics production tripling to more than €200 billion in Europe by 2030, continued support as a dedicated KET means that light technologies can provide key components to future developments in driverless cars, healthcare, food production, and Industry 4.0 and help Europe become a carbon-neutral continent.”

Other KETs mentioned are robotics, microelectronics, high-performance computing and data cloud infrastructure, blockchain, quantum technologies, industrial biotechnology, biomedicine, nanotechnologies, pharmaceuticals, and advanced materials.


About Photonics21

Photonics21 is the European Technology Platform (ETP) for photonics, a technology encompassing all of the products and processes around the emission, manipulation and detection of light. Photonics is integral to a wide range of industries that include the medical, healthcare, transport, manufacturing, and telecommunications sectors.

"Photonics21" was set up in December 2005 to bring the community of photonics researchers and industries together. The European Commission defined photonics as one of five European Key Enabling Technologies (KET's) in September 2009. Shortly after, the European Research & Innovation Program "Horizon 2020" invited Photonics21 to become a "Public-Private Partnership" (PPP). The "Photonics 21 Association", a legal entity under Belgium law, became the private contract partner in November 2013 in a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in conjunction with the EU Commission.

Today Photonics21 represents more than 3000 personal members from across Europe and abroad. Our members are experts in the photonics industry, research organisations and universities who actively engage with us to develop a joint photonics strategy for future research and innovation in Europe.  

With the global photonics market growing from €350 Billion in 2011 to €447 Billion in 2015, Photonics remains a strong industry. The European photonics industry, estimated to be worth €70 billion, has considerable global leadership positions and employs over 300,000 people directly.

With positive growth forecast, current industry trends like digitalisation, resource efficiency, individual and zero failure production will drive the photonics industry further.