May 31, 2017

Photonics works


Photonics21 has investigated the impact and potential of photonics on Europe’s labor market and economic growth—and can attest to the industry’s unwavering momentum.

Between 2005 and 2015, Europe’s photonics market grew by 62 percent to an annual volume of EUR 69 billion. That means it’s growing three and a half times faster than Europe’s GDP and created 19,000 new jobs during this period. These findings of the new Photonics Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Impact Report 2017, published by the European technology platform Photonics21, underline just how dynamic the photonics industry is.

The study sees one explanation for this positive development in the industry’s high willingness to invest. According to the study, its research and development rate is almost 10 percent, with investments totaling a massive EUR 9.6 billion in 2015. Among other things, the public sector contributed EUR 278 million from the European research program Horizon 2020, supporting 67 funding projects between 2014 and 2016.

Sustained momentum

The authors of the PPP Impact Report expect this momentum to continue. By 2020, Europe’s photonics industry could already have created more than 40,000 new jobs. To meet the need for highly qualified specialists, the Photonics21 platform has been used to launch nine major PPP projects focusing on qualification and training. At the same time, they emphasize that public sector contributions generate the desired leverage: Each euro of funding is matched by a further EUR 4.30 contributed by industry. Participation by industry in the funded projects is also growing. The contribution now stands at 45 percent, compared to a share of 35 percent in the previous EU Framework Programme.

According to the study, the industry exhibits its most dynamic growth in the areas of machine vision, medical technology and photonic production technologies. Here, annual growth is between 5.6 and 4.7 percent. In 2015, the European photonics industry employed about 290,000 people. Thanks to the momentum described above, their number is likely to have now risen to more than 300,000.