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Cambridge hosts first UK event for UNESCO International Year of Light 2015 to promote research and development of optical technologies

Cambridge hosted one of the world’s first events to celebrate The International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL 2015) on 9th January. IYL 2015 is a global initiative adopted by the United Nations to raise awareness of how optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communications and health.
Cambridge hosts first UK event for UNESCO International Year of Light 2015 to promote research and development of optical technologies

Year of Light 2015

The University of Cambridge and UCL (University College London) jointly hosted an Industry Day for their joint Centre for Doctoral Training in Integrated Photonic and Electronic Systems (IPES). The Centre is funded by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) and is one of the world’s leading research and training centres for optical technologies (photonics) and their integration with electronics.

Professor Alwyn Seeds (UCL Electronic and Electrical Engineering), Centre Director said “Everyone knows that light is vitally important for life, but few realise how important optical technologies are for life in the 21st century. Our Industry Day will encourage industry and other public bodies to work with us to equip the next generation of scientists and engineers to harness the full potential of light based technologies to change our world for the better. Graduates from our Centre’s 4 year PhD programme will be the next generation of photonics pioneers with the skills and confidence to drive future technology research, development and exploitation through new produces, processes and services. Their skill set is already greatly in demand from companies and research organisations, as photonics becomes fully embedded in electronics-based systems applications ranging from communications to sensing, industrial manufacture to biomedicine.”

The Centre’s Industry Day hosted a wide range of UK technology companies who were encouraged to offer Masters and PhD students research projects that are relevant to industry needs. The Centre’s research is already contributing to a new wave of technologies in fields as diverse as communications, displays, bio-medical imaging and construction.

The photonics industry is growing rapidly and experts predict that integrated photonic systems will become one of the most significant enabling technologies of the next few decades. Matt Cassie, Patent Director at Intellectual Property specialists HGF Ltd who sponsored the Cambridge event said: “The International Year of Light comes at a time when the global photonics and optoelectronics industry is maturing into a trillion dollar market. The UK is well positioned to grow this market further with world-leading research capabilities in academia and the private sector, and the Industry Day that HGF is supporting at the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Integrated Photonic and Electronic Systems shows this strength.  There is still a huge amount of untapped commercial potential for this key enabling technology and HGF’s Intellectual Property specialists will be helping ensure UK photonics companies see the full commercial benefit of their innovations by working to capture and help commercialise the value generated by their R&D.”

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  Web site: www.light2015.org      



This year's key note speakers were Dr Stuart Barnes, CTO of Xtera Communications, Dr Anke Lohmann, Director of Photonics (KTN) and Dr Susan Peacock, ICT Portfolio Manager, EPSRC.

There were company presentations from BAE Systems, Qioptiq, BBC, ARM, Hamamatsu and others.

Presentations were given from Adam Funnell (UCL/BBC) about dynamic photonic spanning networks for smart UHD production services and Laurent Michaux (Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing) about Laser Induced shock wave processing of metallic coatings.

Companies are encouraged to submit project proposals for our MRes students to run from May-Sept 2015 and for PhDs starting this September. The deadline for proposals is 28th Feb for MRes projects and 28th March for PhD projects. Projects can be undertaken at Cambridge, UCL or within industry.