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Innovation hub to accelerate photonics breakthroughs

A new EU innovation hub will give researchers in European academic institutes the chance to turn breakthrough photonics technology concepts into industrially relevant demonstrators.

ACTPHAST 4R (short for ‘ACTPHAST for Researchers’) was launched this year and has financial support from the European Commission under the H2020 Framework.

It is centrally coordinated by the Brussels Photonics Team (B-PHOT) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, ACTPHAST 4R will support 800 researchers from across Europe over the next four years.

Researchers will be provided with open access to expert coaching in the accelerated development and deployment of photonics through ACTPHAST 4R's panel of 200 top photonics experts. ACTPHAST 4R expects to select at least 100 of the researchers to receive further deep innovation project support to build their demonstrators.

“The ambitious ACTPHAST 4R programme will greatly strengthen the European innovation ecosystem,” commented Professor Hugo Thienpont, project coordinator and managing director of the Brussels Photonics Team. “We offer services that are unique for turning research into real products. All of the ACTPHAST 4R services are made available in a subsidised format for collaborating on photonics innovation projects.”

An extension of ACTPHAST 4.0, the existing EU photonics innovation incubator for SMEs, ACTPHAST 4R aims to be a game-changer in the European innovation ecosystem. ACTPHAST4R, together with ACTPHAST 4.0 and the European pilot lines in photonics, aims build a bridge across the ‘Valley of Death’ between research and development as this is the point at which the flow of innovation is often de-railed.

Thienpont added, “With an average ‘incubation’ time of 6 months per project, we expect that ACTPHAST 4R will accelerate the development of new applications, enterprises and jobs, and the diffusion of innovation for the betterment of society in Europe and beyond.”

Charlotte Hathway

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