Photonics Partnership

The Photonics21 association is an international non-profit association with scientific purpose governed by the provisions of Title 3 of the Belgium Law of twenty-seventh of June nineteen hundred twenty-one, and its revisions, on non-profit associations, international non-profit associations and foundations.

The purpose of the Association is to enter into the Memorandum of Understanding for the Co-programmed European Partnership for Photonics in Horizon Europe.

The Photonics21 association is based on the European Technology Platform Photonics21 which has more than 4000 members from industry, science and research institutes. It was found 2005 and acts on a voluntary basis of its members. One main purpose is to define and align the various partners on the Innovation and Research Topics. The Photoncis21 Association represents the private side of the Public Private Partnership with the EU Commission. The Memorandum of Understanding contract was signed on June 23rd, 2021 in an official Launch Event in the frame of the R+D Days of the European Commission.

The Photonics Partnership represents a long-term commitment between the European Commission and the Photonics Stakeholders to invest in Europe with the aim of securing Europe's industrial leadership and economic growth in photonics and its enabled industries.

Photonics industry, which is based on about 5000 SMEs across Europe has a highly skilled workforce, and the capability to generate new jobs that attract young people.
The Photonics Partnership is the basis for a Research and Innovation strategy and more broadly for an industrial strategy in photonics for Europe for the Horizon Europe period and beyond. On June 23rd, 2021 the Photonic21 Association entered a Co-programmed partnership with the European Commission by signing a Memorandum of Understanding in the frame of a Launch Event.

The main objectives are to strengthen the photonics ecosystem along the value chain support diffusion of photonics technologies and contributes to growth and jobs and raise competitiveness. In detail:

  • Foster a focused, continuous and synergetic development of key photonics technologies, components and systems in Europe
  • Push for the rapid diffusion into the various sectors that critically depend on innovative photonics solutions by early collaboration along value chains
  • Fully exploit the potential of photonics for a digital, green and healthy future in Europe by providing critical components and systems and processes for next generation applications
  • Securing Technological Sovereignty for Europe by maintaining leadership in core photonics technologies and in the application of photonics through ensuring common strategic research and investment commitment
  • Raise the International Competitiveness of Europe's economy and ensure Long-term Job and Prosperity creation in Europe
  • Provide a framework for the shaping of ecosystems to address changes of value creation

Towards this new Photonics Partnership in Horizon Europe - succeeding the former Photonics21 cPPP in Horizon 2020 - a Vision Paper was provided. The Photonics Partnership further published a detailed Multiannual Strategic Roadmap entitled "New Horizons- Securing Europe's technological sovereignty through Photonics" as well as a new photonics market research study entitled "Insights into the dynamic photonics market".

The European photonics industry experienced significant growth and development between 2019 and 2022.

  • European photonics industry production volume: The European photonics industry grew from €103 billion in 2019 to reach €124.6 billion in 2022, comprising more than 5,000 companies and contributing around 3% of Europe’s entire manufacturing output. It provided around 1.5% of total manufacturing employment, with a turnover of around €280,000 per employee.
  • The growth rate of the European photonics industry: The revenue growth rate of the European photonics industry was 6.5% per year (2019-2022), outpacing the entire European GDP growth (2%/year) even when accounting for inflation.
  • Forecast growth for the European photonics market: The European photonics industry is expected to continue growing, amounting to around €175 billion by 2027.
  • Europe’s position in the global photonics market: From 2019 to 2022, Europe maintained its second position in the global photonics market, with a 15% share, behind China at 32%. Europe is slightly ahead of the US. The European industry grew at the same pace as the global market, but exchange rate differences reduced its market share slightly.
  • European strengths: Europe is particularly strong in the following segments: Photonics for Industry 4.0 (global market share: 38%), Photonics Instrumentation (incl. Agro-food and space) (32%), Photonics for Defence and Security (24%) and Photonics for Healthcare (21%).
  • Since 2019, Europe has become more dominant in Photonics Components, Photonics for Industry 4.0, Photonics for Healthcare, and Photonics for Defence and Security.
  • With this highly innovative industry and four recent Nobel Prizes awarded to European scientists for their work in Photonics, Europe is in a very good starting position to accelerate advanced key European initiatives, such as AI, High-Performance Computing, Quantum Communication and Quantum Computing, as well as Smart Cities which all depend on Photonics as the key enabling technology

More about the Photonics Partnership