A new innovation hub is enabling researchers to turn their breakthrough scientific concepts that use photonics into industrially-relevant demonstrators.A new innovation hub is enabling researchers to turn their breakthrough scientific concepts that use photonics into industrially-relevant demonstrators.
A new EU innovation hub – ACTPHAST 4R – specialising in the deployment of cutting-edge photonics technologies will give researchers in academic institutes all over Europe the chance to turn their breakthrough scientific concepts into industrially-relevant demonstrators. Launched this year, ACTPHAST 4R (short for ‘ACTPHAST for Researchers’) has financial support from the European Commission under the H2020 Framework, to solve the bottleneck in developing a concept into a prototype. Centrally coordinated by the Brussels Photonics Team (B-PHOT) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, ACTPHAST 4R will support 800 researchers from across Europe over the next four years. Providing them with open access to expert coaching in the accelerated development and deployment of photonics from its panel of 200 top photonics experts, ACTPHAST 4R expects to select at least 100 of the researchers to receive further deep innovation project support to build their demonstrators. An extension of ACTPHAST 4.0, the existing EU photonics innovation incubator for SMEs, ACTPHAST 4R is set to be a game-changer in the European innovation ecosystem. For the first time, researchers will have access to support to progress seamlessly from early-stage breakthroughs right through to advanced prototypes and into industrial use. With 24 of Europe’s top photonics competence centres, ACTPHAST 4R will make advanced photonics resources available to all researchers on an open-access one-stop-shop basis.
Photonics – the science behind the power of light – is a critical digital technology for the creation of new applications and solutions that address many of our major societal challenges from Optical Communications and High-Performance Computing, to Environmental Sustainability, Industry 4.0, Smart Living and Personalised Healthcare. While researchers working in different scientific domains behind these applications often have breakthrough concepts, many lack the expertise in photonics and easy access to the advanced photonics technology platforms in order to develop fully-functioning industrially-relevant demonstrators. Significantly, ACTPHAST 4R ’s deep innovation support will involve internships and hands-on training for the researchers in the state-of-art technology platforms and equipment of the host competence centres. Researchers will get access to intensive entrepreneurial coaching, ensuring a durable knowledge transfer and cross-fertilisation of photonics with other key scientific domains with a focus on commercial deployment.