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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/Y024109/1
Title: STREAM 2: A placed-based IAA in Photonic Technologies in Scotland's Central Belt
Principal Investigator: Harvey, Professor A
Other Investigators:
Sweeney, Professor SJ Sapienza, Dr L Reid, Professor D
Turnbull, Professor GA Hastie, Professor J Riis, Professor E
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
CENSIS City of Edinburgh Council Fraunhofer Institut (Multiple, Grouped)
Glasgow City Council Glasgow Science Centre Ltd National Physical Laboratory NPL
Scottish Enterprise SPIE Technology Scotland
West Lothian Council
Department: School of Physics and Astronomy
Organisation: University of Glasgow
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 February 2024 Ends: 31 January 2028 Value (£): 5,091,523
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Synthesis & Growth Optical Communications
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Electronics Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
26 Jun 2023 PBIAA Interview Panel A Announced
05 Jun 2023 PBIAA Sift R1 Panel Meeting B Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Photonic Technologies (PT) came of age in the final decades of the 20th century, and together with electronics and information technology, PT underpins the economic prosperity and well-being of modern society. Much of photonics is hidden to the user but plays an essential and ubiquitous role: for example in high-speed optical communication; fabrication of integrated circuits; flat-panel displays; photonic sensing and manufacture; and a myriad of applications in medicine and the life sciences. The global market for PT reached $722bn in 2021 and the UK photonics industry has a turnover of £14.5bn, employs 77,000 people (twice as many as pharmaceuticals, and larger than fintech or the space industry), contributing £85k of GVA/employee. PT is the only sector in the UK to have maintained growth in GVA and in employment during the covid-19 pandemic.

Scotland's Central Belt (SCB) - from the Clyde in the west to the Forth in the east - is the economic heart of Scotland, but still bears social and economic scars of 1980s deindustrialization. There are significant areas with low levels of productivity, and a consequent lack of high-value jobs means that many communities across the Central Belt suffer from high deprivation and poor social outcomes.

Photonic Technologies has emerged as a success story in the recent mixed fortunes of Scottish industry. For more than half a century, the universities and industries of SCB have been at the forefront of research and innovation in Photonic Technologies. Today, SCB is recognized globally for its strength in photonics, and this established research and innovation cluster contributes more than £1bn to the Scottish economy. But, the full potential of photonics for economic and societal impact in SCB has not yet been achieved. We propose a PBIAA in Photonics Technology that will fully harness academic excellence in photonics to accelerate growth of the PT sector for the economic and societal benefits in Scotland's Central Belt. We will make a major contribution to the Technology Scotland goal to triple the value of the photonics industry in SBC to >£3bn and enable the UK to increase its share of the growing global photonics market.

Working with our civic partners we have developed a four-year plan to work together to accelerate growth:

1) by growing the PT economy and PT companies through entrepreneurship and company creation and engaging existing companies in related fields (e.g. electronics, manufacturing), that have not yet exploited the benefits of PT

2) by growing the base of people skilled in PT so that the cluster is not limited by availability of skilled employees throughout all skill levels

3) by increasing the public's awareness of PT and in particular the leading role of SCB PT industries; and to increase enthusiasm for PT entrepreneurialism within Scottish schools.

Much of our activity will be based around project-based development of university research to support and de-risk university-developed technologies so that they are attractive for exploitation by industry. Researchers working on these programmes will receive mentorship and entrepreneurial training and will have access to staff-mobility programmes to increase and diversify academia-university interactions

To develop the enthusiasm and skills among young people and the public that underpin the supply of high-skilled people required for a thriving PT industry, we will design and launch an ambitious new program of public engagement with the Glasgow Science. Young people will learn about the importance and excitement of photonics together with PT career opportunities Scotland. We will particularly encourage more girls and women, and those from other under-represented groups and social backgrounds, to engage in the science, technology and careers in PT.

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Organisation Website: http://www.gla.ac.uk