News › Pho­ton­Hub • New Euro­pean Aca­demy to boost the skills and know-how in the €615B glo­bal pho­to­nics sector

A pro­gramme to train thousands of indus­try workers in the adop­tion and deve­lo­p­ment of inno­va­tive pho­to­nics-based solu­ti­ons to some of society’s big­gest chal­len­ges, from envi­ron­men­tal sus­taina­bi­lity to healthy living and smart infra­st­ruc­ture, has been estab­lis­hed by a con­sor­tium of over 50 of Europe’s top pho­to­nics com­pe­tence centres.

The Euro­pean Pho­to­nics Aca­demy will offer trai­ning cour­ses bey­ond the lec­ture room with a strong focus on hands-on trai­ning. Course atten­dees will gain real-world expe­ri­ence using state-of-the-art design, manu­fac­tu­ring, test equip­ment and faci­li­ties. The academy’s trai­ning cen­tres will offer uni­que cour­ses across a wide range of pho­to­nics tech­no­logy plat­forms and app­li­ca­tion domains. The aca­demy will initi­ally run for four years with the clear inten­tion of beco­m­ing a sus­tainable long-term sup­port to Euro­pean industry.

Inte­rest in pho­to­nics is boo­m­ing, with the glo­bal pho­to­nics mar­ket esti­ma­ted to be worth €615B in 2020 and recent rese­arch showing that the Euro­pean pho­to­nics mar­ket is gro­wing at more than dou­ble the rate of glo­bal GDP. Howe­ver, gai­ning access to the cut­ting-edge tech­ni­cal know-how and the hands-on skills requi­red to uti­lise pho­to­nics tech­no­lo­gies remains dif­fi­cult for many com­pa­nies, espe­cially small- and medium-sized enter­pri­ses (SMEs). The aca­demy, laun­ched by Pho­ton­Hub Europe, the full-ser­vice one-stop-shop Pho­to­nics Inno­va­tion Hub fun­ded by the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, will make it easy for SMEs in par­ti­cu­lar to fully exploit this cri­ti­cal enab­ling tech­no­logy for their own inno­va­tion activities.

“For the first time the Euro­pean Pho­to­nics Aca­demy means that SMEs have a one-stop-shop to pick and choose from a large menu of trai­ning opti­ons, making it easy to get the exact trai­ning course sui­ted to their needs. Com­pa­nies can be assu­red that their employees are get­ting top qua­lity trai­ning from best-in-class faci­li­ties since qua­lity assurance is over­seen by Pho­ton­Hub,” said Prof Peter O’Brien of the UCC Tynd­all Insti­tute in Ire­land, who leads trai­ning sup­port ser­vices at the aca­demy. “We expect to sup­port 6,000 Euro­pean com­pa­nies with trai­ning over the next four years, each sen­ding several employees on one or more of our cour­ses, with several hund­red com­pa­nies immedia­tely taking up pho­to­nics tech­no­lo­gies in their app­li­ca­ti­ons and pro­duct manu­fac­tu­ring as early adop­ters. As a result, we believe the aca­demy will be a mas­sive cata­lyst for the take-up of pho­to­nics by Euro­pean companies.”

Pho­to­nics invol­ves the genera­tion, mani­pu­la­tion and detec­tion of light and is a key enab­ling digi­tal tech­no­logy that under­pins many exis­ting and emer­ging app­li­ca­ti­ons. Over the next decade pho­to­nics will make a signi­fi­cant impact to our ever­y­day lives – trans­forming indus­tries, tack­ling cri­ti­cal issues such as cli­mate change, and impro­ving socie­ties across Europe. Some cur­rent app­li­ca­ti­ons include:

  • Agri­cul­ture (scan­ning tech­no­logy and infra­red ima­ging to moni­tor food pro­duc­tion and qua­lity, and sen­sor sys­tems for plan­ting and irrigation)
  • Green Energy Sources (LED ligh­t­ing and Pho­to­vol­taic devices used for solar electric panels)
  • Infor­ma­tion Com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ons Tech­no­logy (optics for data sto­rage, trans­mis­sion across fibre-optic net­works and displays)
  • Life Sci­en­ces (tes­ting and ana­ly­sis devices such as non-inva­sive glu­cose moni­tors and point-of-care and weara­ble diagnostics)
  • Medi­cal Tech­no­logy (lasers for sur­gery, pho­to­dy­na­mic the­rapy, smart sur­gi­cal instruments).

Europe is a glo­bal lea­der in the deve­lo­p­ment of pho­to­nics tech­no­lo­gies, with much of this inno­va­tion gene­ra­ted through rese­arch fun­ded by the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. The new aca­demy will allow Euro­pean work­for­ces access to state-of-the-art pho­to­nics tech­no­lo­gies and advan­ced methods of pho­to­nics manu­fac­tu­ring through struc­tu­red trai­ning and edu­ca­tion. To-date, 40 trai­ning cen­tres across Europe have been selec­ted for fun­ding, with 10 more to be announ­ced later this year. Cri­ti­cally all regi­ons of Europe will have access to trai­ning, inclu­ding those with little or no exper­tise in pho­to­nics, with cen­tres as far apart as Ire­land, Spain, Fin­land and Greece.

Three types of trai­ning cour­ses are available:

  • Online Trai­ning, gea­red towards new ent­rants to the pho­to­nics sec­tor pro­vi­ding a half-day intro­duc­tion to pho­to­nics and an over­view of the key enab­ling power of pho­to­nics tech­no­lo­gies for wide-ran­ging applications.
  • Demo Cen­tres, offe­ring one-day trai­ning cour­ses on-site with a focus on par­ti­cu­lar pho­to­nics tech­no­logy applications.
  • Expe­ri­ence Cen­tres, offe­ring in-depth three-day or five-day trai­ning cour­ses with a strong focus on lab-based acti­vi­ties and hands-on working using state-of-the-art equip­ment and app­li­ca­tion demons­tra­tor tools.

People wis­hing to attend any of the Online Trai­ning, or eit­her of the Demo or Expe­ri­ence Centre trai­ning cour­ses, can browse the trai­ning cata­lo­gue via the Pho­ton­Hub web­site ( and regis­ter for the par­ti­cu­lar course of inte­rest to them.

Fur­ther details about PhotonHub’s exten­sive Online Trai­ning, and Demo and Expe­ri­ence Centre trai­ning cour­ses, can be found in the link here: