EPIC Advocates for Photonics European Partnership in Horizon Europe

The European Parliament and European Council recently signed a partial political agreement on Horizon Europe. This agreement endorsed the European Commission proposal for three levels of European partnerships in the future Horizon Europe programme, including co-programmed partnerships based on the cPPP model as per Photonics21 in Horizon 2020.

It is the understanding of EPIC that based on this agreement, the Commission, in full respect of its right of initiative, has now already proposed a draft “Portfolio of European partnerships” to member states for consideration and consultation prior to the launch of their preparation. Photonics has made it to the list of potential European partnerships circulating amongst the ministries of our 28 European capitals. But this is just the end of the beginning of ensuring that a Photonics PPP, building on the excellent work of Photonics21 will be retained for support in the future Horizon Europe programme. A first discussion on the short list of potential PPP’s submitted to the Shadow Strategic Planning Committee of the Member States will take place on the 3 May at the European Commission in Brussels.

Flags in front of the European Parliament, Strasbourg, France (Source: Hadrian / Shutterstock)

EPIC is advocating for a follow-on Photonics public private partnership to Photonics21. It confidently does so in the clear knowledge that it exactly meets the recent draft proposed Partnerships criteria of the European Research Area and Innovation Committee. Namely that a photonics contractual private public partnership will be (1) effective and efficient, (2) coherent and synergetic (3) has the long-term commitment of the partners (4) meets the criteria for EU Value Added and Additionality, and finally (5) is fully open and transparent.

The Photonics21 contractual public private partnership (cPPP) was ranked first out of the ten existing cPPP’s, by an independent expert group, during the Mid-term review of the contractual public private partnerships under Horizon 2020.

A photonics European Partnership would underpin the future and first ever European Commission Digital Europe Programme, which will seek to strengthen Europe’s world leadership in the digital transformation. The recent 2018 European Commission and European Investment Bank report on “Financing the digital transformation: Unlocking the value of photonics and microelectronics”, is direct and states that “the Photonics sector is an essential key enabling technology and represents an important building block of the next digital revolution, which will be based on deep technologies”

The current Photonics21 partnership (cPPP) established in Horizon 2020, has demonstrated a very high >4 leverage factor with respect to private to public funding, as recently highlighted by DigitalEurope. More importantly, European Photonics SMEs are committed to invest more than ten billion euros per year into R&I in Europe during the time period of Horizon Europe. The Photonics21 partnership is actively complemented by a very strong and active European Photonics Industry Consortium bringing together over six hundred Photonics Industry CEO’s from around the world.

The Photonics21 cPPP has played a key role in creating a network of National Photonics associations and Prototyping and Pilot Production Networks, who are now strongly engaged in the development of sustainable regional and national competitiveness photonics policy and ecosystems. One result of this proactive engagement is the decision of the Netherlands in December 2018 to invest 238 million euros in photonics development. The PhotonDelta initiative involves government, three regions, the Dutch national photonics association, several industrial members of EPIC and research members of Photonics21.

By involving more than 3000 photonics experts representing more than 1700 SME industry and research organisations, the Photonics21 PPP is seen as a role model for any future European partnership in Horizon Europe in terms of openness and transparency. (Source: EPIC)

Link: “Why a Photonics European Partnership in Horizon Europe 2021-2027?”, EPIC – European Photonics Industry Consortium (PDF)

Further reading: Nobel Laureates Slam EC over Photonics Funding, photonicsviews.com, 25th January 2019

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