Photonics innovation hub secures €10m to create 750 hi-tech jobs

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An innovation hub, designed to help SMEs become ‘intelligent digital businesses’, says it is set to create 750 new hi-tech jobs over the next 4 years.

Having secured €10 million from the EU’s H2020 programme, the hub, ACTPHAST 4.0, intends to support 100 product innovations based on photonics.

ACTPHAST 4.0, coordinated by the University of Brussels, provides bespoke prototyping solutions to companies with all levels of photonic experience, from novice to expert.

The hub has said it will leverage the R&I spend of the companies involved by 2.8 times, generate over €700m in increased company revenues and create these 750 jobs across Europe.

It claims it is able to deliver highly specialised technologies in areas such as IoT, Smart Cities, LEDs and quantum technology, along with the critical expertise needed for their deployment that are often out of reach to SMEs.

The aim is to continue the work of its predecessor, ACTPHAST, which supported more than 100 companies and created over 700 new jobs since 2013 and go that one step further. The pa make the transition from its current state, as an access centre for photonics technologies, to a full-service photonics innovation incubator for European SMEs.

Project coordinator and managing director of the Brussels Photonics Team at the University of Brussels, Professor Hugo Thienpont, said: “ACTPHAST 4.0 is a game-changer in revitalising European manufacturing and as one of the vital catalysts to the digitisation of European industry. ACTPHAST 4.0 offers new opportunities to boost photonics innovation in Europe at a scale and with a leveraging factor that is unprecedented.

“The coaching support services for SMEs we offer are a vital complementary action running alongside the deep innovation interventions. We make sure that the companies are fully primed before, during and after they engage with ACTPHAST 4.0 on innovation projects related to their product, so they can accelerate on all fronts towards commercial success.”