More research, more investment, more cooperation. This is necessary in order to further expand the lead of Noord-Brabant, Overijssel and Gelderland in the field of photonics. These are the main conclusions of the PhotonDelta study presented on Monday at Novio Tech Campus in Nijmegen.
Photonics is a technology that is applied in the latest generation of microchips. By transporting data with light, chips become much faster, cheaper and more economical. The market for photonics is growing explosively due to the many applications in the aerospace, automotive and medical industries. With the chip industry in Nijmegen and the technical universities in Eindhoven and Enschede, the Netherlands has a leading position in Europe. By working together, the provinces want to increase their market share. The growth of the photonics sector should create more than 7,000 new jobs in the region.
Together with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the provinces are working on a National Photonics Agenda. PhotonDelta provides the building blocks for this. This Eindhoven-based organization, headed by Ewit Roos, advocates intensifying research into new techniques and the joint development of photonics products in ‘Application Labs’ in the region. PhotonDelta says that the application of photonics in data centers, telecom, and the medical industry is particularly promising. The photonics market in Europe is expected to grow to 50 billion euros by 2020.
The new cabinet wants to invest more in photonics. According to PhotonDelta, some €500 million is needed from the government and the industry over the next 10 years to turn the knowledge advantage of the Netherlands into a leading position in the photonics industry. With the provinces of Brabant, Gelderland and Overijssel as a testing ground for new photonics products and applications. A National Photonics Agenda will be developed in the coming months.
According to deputies Bert Pauli (Brabant), Eddy van Hijum (Overijssel) and Michiel Scheffer (Gelderland), the fourth industrial revolution begins “in the region where researchers and entrepreneurs work together on innovation”. In a joint statement, they say: “Photonics is the prime example of industry 4.0: a smart and clean industry. The provinces have put photonics on the agenda. The national government now has the task of further developing the Photonica Agenda with companies, universities, and municipalities. We are in a hurry. We have a head start, but the other countries are not standing still.”
Photo: (c) EFFECT Photonics