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Photonics21 is a voluntary association of industrial representatives and other stakeholders in the field of photonics in Europe. The platform unites the majority of the leading photonics industries and relevant R&D stakeholders along the whole economic value chain throughout Europe. Photonics21 was founded in 2005. By establishing the European Technology Platform (ETP) Photonics21, the photonics industry has taken the initiative to shape the European research and innovation area in photonics. Currently, Photonics21 comprises about 2000 personal members.

The president of Photonics21 is Dr. Michael Mertin. The ETP Photonics21 consists of the Photonics21 Executive Board, the Photonics21 Board of Stakeholders as well as the seven work groups:

  • Work Group 1: Information and Communication,
  • Work Group 2: Industrial Production/Manufacturing & Quality,
  • Work Group 3: Life Science & Health,
  • Work Group 4: Emerging Lighting, ElectronicSes & Displays,
  • Work Group 5: Security, Metrology and Sensors,
  • Work Group 6: Design and Manufacturing of Components and Systems,
  • Work Group 7: Photonics Research Education and Training

Photonics21 aims to coordinate the research and innovation activities in Europe among all the contributing partners from education, basic research, applied research and development to manufacturing and all relevant photonics applications.

Photonics21 has defined and constantly updates the Photonics Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda which outlines a joint European mid to long term strategy for Photonics in Europe for both, industry and science. Furthermore, Photonics21 provides detailed information on the economic impact of photonics in Europe. It has become the main advisory body of the European Commission for setting up strategic funding programmes in photonics. Photonics21 also provides advice to European member states on strategic investments in photonic technologies.

In 2007, Photonics21 has established a political mirror group which is composed of member state representatives and representatives of the European Commission in order to better coordinate and align European photonics research in Europe.

In 2009, the European Commission defined photonics as one of the Key Enabling Technologies (KET) of Europe.

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