The recent European Commission industry strategy “A New Industrial Strategy for Europe” clearly recognized Photonics technologies as a key enabling technology for the digital transformation of European industry stating, “The EU will support the development of key enabling technologies that are strategically important for Europe’s industrial future…including Photonics“.
The European Investment Bank in a separate communication identified Photonics as one of the two key digital deep technologies that will provide the secure, sovereign and resilient digital infrastructure necessary for Europe.
Equally Photonics is now considered as one of the “digital technologies critical for attaining the sustainability goals of the European Green Deal”; through revolutionizing energy generation and energy conservation, along with distance monitoring the effects of both, on the environment and climate.
In short, Photonics technologies are recognized as essential to support and advance four over-arching European Union objectives: the digital transformation of Europe industry; achieving the European Green deal and a sustainable EU future; the establishment of a future sovereign and resilient European digital infrastructure and, strengthening strategic value chains across key sectors.
Current status of support for a Photonics partnership in the forthcoming European Commission programmes (2021-2027):
Despite the clearly recognized strategic importance of Photonic technologies for the future economic competitiveness and security of Europe, the Photonics21 Association has learned of the current intent of the European Commission to cut drastically the support for the Photonics partnership in the future Horizon Europe programme 2021-2027.
The current Photonics PPP (which is now ending) was funded to the sum of €700 million over seven years. This was already one of the smallest budgets for a key digital technology PPP over the period 2014-2020. In contrast, the allocated budget for the Microelectronics PPP was €2.5 billion over the same period.
The current figure proposed by the Commission for a new Photonics PPP is in the range of €500 million. This represents, if confirmed, a cut of over 30% on the already previous minimal budget of €700 million 2014-2020. However, it would represent only 35% of the Photonics industry requested budget for 2021-2027.
Background: Strategic importance of Photonics