Commissioner Reding Calls Photonics Huge Untapped Potential for European Economic Development in the 21st Century

Wednesday, 05. April 2006 23:01

STRASBOURG, FRANCE -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 04/05/06 -- SPIE Europe
announced today that, at the Photonics Europe Symposium and
Exhibition underway this week in Strasbourg, France, European
Commissioner Viviane Reding accepted the first draft of the Strategic
Research Agenda in Photonics from Alexander von Witzleben, president
of Photonics21 and CEO and chairman of Jenoptik AG.

During her keynote yesterday, Reding, who is responsible for
technology funding recommendations to the European Commission, said,
"Europe must link research to the delivery of innovation, economic
growth and jobs in Europe." She continued, "It is very clear we must
gear up research to remain competitive." Reding further pointed out
that while Europe already directly and indirectly employs over 2
million people in the photonics industry, the potential for
photonics-enabled advancements in the areas of health care, lighting,
security, and other applications offers unlimited potential for job
creation and economic development in Europe. However, she warned that
the photonics community must be realistic in its expectation; EU
resources must be used strategically to realise those opportunities
with the greatest potential to deliver a return on investment.

Reding told a plenary audience of Photonics Europe attendees that
public funding for research will continue to be more closely linked
applications with commercial potential. She noted, "We must
concentrate our efforts on those areas which show great promise, that
are of strategic importance, and where we can expect a greater return
on investment. Photonics is one of those areas." She further went
on to discuss existing markets that are being driven by photonics
technologies, like those involving display and CD/DVD technology;
however the European Commission expects that the strategic importance
of photonics technology will create new markets of which we are
currently unaware.

Reding finalized her comments with a challenge to industry to
strengthen their investments in R&D to match the higher investments
other regions of the world. She further extended her best wishes to
the Photonics Europe audience, noting, "This conference has become a
highlight, a 'rendezvous incontournable' for all researchers in the
photonics field. I am impressed by the number of papers, more than
1,000, among which almost 200 are a direct result of our funding in
the Framework Programme VI, and I believe that this contributed to
putting Europe at the speed of light!"

Photonics21 is an industry-focused initiative promoting the need for
a far more aggressive and rapid commercialization of optics- and
photonics-based technologies over the next five years in Europe.
Europe's ability to remain competitive in the high-tech arena is seen
to be at stake, as well as the competitiveness of major European
companies who employ a large segment of Europe's leading researchers,
scientists and engineers working in this field. Alexander von
Witzleben, CEO and chairman of Jenoptik AG and president of the
Photonics21 Strategic Research Agenda, is a prime example of a
corporate leader with such concerns.

The day began with a plenary that included two hot topics
presentations on "Silicon-on-Insulator Microphotonic Devices," by
Laurent Vivien, Univ. Paris Sud CNRS (France), and "Engineering and
Characterization of Ferroelectric Microstructures for Photonic
Crystal Applications," by S. Frilli, Istituto Nazionale di Ottica
Applicata, CNR (Italy). It concluded with the anticipated keynote
speech by Commissioner Reding, titled "Europe at Light Speed."
Reding's talk was followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony that opened
the Photonics Europe exhibition of 150 companies and research
organizations showcasing high-tech optical components, photonic
devices and emerging technologies used to generate, measure and
control light.

Tuesday concluded with a forum titled, "OPERA Forum on FP-7 and the
Photonics Technology Platform." Distinguished speakers from Osram,
AIXTRON, and Eblana, amongst others, presented their vision for the
next decade of developments in photonics. The Forum attracted an
international audience interested in participating in the future of
photonics for Europe.

On Wednesday, 5 April, a special forum on recent advances in optical
coatings technology was presented, organized by the Photonics Cluster
(UK) and European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC). This forum
will address the increased adoption and application of coatings and
finishes within key sectors of aerospace, automotive, medical
healthcare as well as other high tech industry, and provide
decision-makers with an overview of the latest developments from
leading European researchers and corporate leaders.

On Thursday, 6 April, Malcolm Harbour, Vice Chairman of the European
Parliament's Science and Technology Assessment Panel, will present on
"The European Parliament - a strong advocate of ICT Research."

Over 2,200 people will come to Photonics Europe to participate in
conferences covering the latest research in optoelectronics,
biophotonics and new therapies using light, solar energy,
nanotechnology, lasers, multimedia, optical sensors, silicon
photonics and other fields.

The Photonics Europe exhibition is free and open to the public. More
information about Photonics Europe, organized by SPIE Europe, is
available at

About SPIE Europe

SPIE Europe is a European subsidiary of SPIE -- The International
Society for Optical Engineering, a not-for-profit professional
that has become the largest international force for the exchange,
collection and dissemination of knowledge in optics, photonics and
imaging. Founded in 1955, SPIE organizes technical conferences around
the world and publishes journals, books and proceedings, with
technical papers available for download via the SPIE Digital Library.
See for more details. SPIE Europe is headquartered in
Cardiff, UK.
Media Contacts:
Karin Burger
SPIE Europe

Stacey Crockett
Media Relations
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