PhotonHub Europe

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One-Stop-Shop Open Access to Photonics Innovation Support for a Digital Europe 

PhotonHub Europe projects aims to accelerate the uptake of photonics technologies by European industry, help to boost competitiveness and foster new business and business models. To reach that aim the project has established a unique European full-service one-stop-shop Photonics Innovation Hub in a manner which is deeply rooted within the wider ecosystem of innovation hubs and manufacturing right across the European continent for maximum coverage, leverage, impact and long-term sustainability. Photonhub Europe is a pan-European initiative that brings together more than 500 photonics experts from 15 member states. Through 20 local Photonics Hub partners the project links closely with those European regions that smartly invest in photonics innovation. 

PhotonHub Europe has received 19M euro funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Grant Agreement n°101016665, in Public Private Partnership with Photonics21. The project started in January 2021 and will last until end of 2024.  

PhotonHub Europe will help European SMEs and mid-caps become highly competitive digital businesses through faster and smarter deployment of photonics-based technologies, directly creating over 1.000 new high-tech EU jobs and nearly €1 billion in new revenues and venture capital by 2025. 

Photonics Finland role and activity in the project 

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Photonics Finland is one of the 54 project partners joining as the local photonics hub in Finland. 

Photonics Finland will be working closely together with other project partners on a broad European outreach to companies in photonics industries as well as “non-photonics” end user industries, especially first user and early adopter SMEs, to generate networks of high-quality industry leads. This will provide orienteering to the best-placed support services. 

Photonics Finland will also work collaboratively with other local innovation hubs in photonics to boost the financial leverage through regional co-funding, as well as supporting the development of new innovation hubs and network-building across the hubs to create a strong pan-European ecosystem for photonics innovation which is tightly linked to the supply chain for manufacturing in Europe.  

Photonics Finland is also one national contact point for any questions that arise about how to take advantage of the PhotonHub Europe Services.  

How can Finnish companies benefit from PhotonHub Europe? 

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To innovate with photonics, companies need access to the best photonic experts and the most advanced photonic technology platforms. That is why the PhotonHub Europe is created: a single one-stop-shop where European companies will find top notch expertise and deep technology support to test their innovative idea’s before they invest. At the same time PhotonHub will provide opportunities for the training and reskilling of technical workforce and for coaching companies -whenever needed- with their photonics innovation business plans and with finding investments for starting up or growing their businesses. 

As a one-stop shop, the PhotonHub Europe provides 6 important services to European companies:  

  • photonics orienteering 
  • training and reskilling 
  • deep technology innovation support (TRL 3-8) 
  • business coaching 
  • investment coaching 
  • guidance to regional support  

Photonics orienteering Services 
First and foremost, PhotonHub will listen to the photonics needs of the companies and will provide tailored expert advice about what is the best next step towards successful implementation of photonics innovation and orienteer companies to the most appropriate support activity. To receive this free-of-charge orienteering activity simply contact the central front office based in Brussels. The office is connected to the network of local photonics hubs, in Finland the local photonics hub is Photonics Finland, so this way companies have both local access and proximity to the best supports available at the European level. 

Training and reskilling Services 
The PhotonHub Europe provides an extensive online catalogue with all available Photonics training offerings across Europe: 

  • Free online introductory courses in Photonics Innovation presented by top experts from leading competence centres across Europe.  
  • A 1-day onsite application-specific training programme at one of the 40 PhotonHub Demo Centres to interact with top experts and learn about how photonics can be deployed as a key digital technology tailored to a specific application domain. 
  • A 3-day onsite immersive hands-on training programme in small expert-led groups at one of the PhotonHub Experience Centres to receive hands-on training in key photonics-based technologies.  
  • “Train-the-Trainer” programme at one of the PhotonHub Experience Centres for hands-on training of professional and vocational trainers to expand and enhance their own training offerings. 
  • European Photonics Innovation Academy with a digital catalogue to explore an even wider range of different training options offered from leading competence centres all across Europe. If your organisation is also offering training sessions in the domain of photonics and wishes to be included in our digital catalogue free-of-charge for increased visibility, please don’t hesitate to contact to discuss the on-boarding process. 

Deep technology innovation support (TRL 3-8) Services 
European companies, especially SMEs and even large companies who are first users and early adopters in photonics can benefit from the “test-before-invest” photonics technology innovation support services of PhotonHub Europe. These services provide open access to the broadest range of cutting-edge photonics expertise, equipment and technologies available from the best facilities throughout Europe for the purpose of carrying out collaborative, cross-border innovation projects covering TRL3 to TRL8. All these services will be financially heavily supported by the PhotonHub Europe initiative. 

To use this service companies need to apply for a free-of-charge expert scouting support. This support takes place under a signed Non-Disclosure Agreement where companies receive personalised one-to-one scouting support for their unique innovation challenge from one of more than 350 top experts in photonics of PhotonHub. 

Once a company has successfully passed the scouting phase and is deemed eligible for PhotonHub cross-border funding support, a detailed innovation project proposal will be jointly developed between the company and one or more of the most suitable PhotonHub technology support providers and/or third-party providers in accordance with the relevant Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of the targeted innovation: 

  • Innovation Technology Support for Prototyping TRL3-4 
    • Collaborative co-innovation initiatives can receive financial support from PhotonHub as part of the overall cost of a prototyping innovation project (average expected to be €40K) 
  • Innovation Technology Support for Upscaling TRL5-6  
    • PhotonHub provides support to optimise an initial prototype for small-series production with a link and access to Euoprean pilot-line production facilities in photonics 
  • Innovation Technology Support for Manufacturing in Europe TRL7-8  
    • The support of PhotonHub at the manufacturing level will come in the form of a brokerage service 

Business coaching Services 
PhotonHub Europe provides companies with first-level investment coaching for deploying photonics technologies. This business coaching support is provided by one of the specialist business support partners within PhotonHub, covering all aspects of successful commercialisation. PhotonHub has over 200 specialist business coaches / mentors  available to support companies with tailored business support packages.  

Investment coaching Services 
PhotonHub Europe provides start-up and scale-up companies with intensive investment pitching coaching and matchmaking. PhotonHub offers you multiple opportunities for connecting with suitable potential venture capitalists and corporate investors with a particular interest in “photonics-powered” innovation. The following key supports for helping companies to find investment are provided free-of-charge: 

  • Investor community platform – digital networking platform where entrepreneurs and start-ups are informed about investors and investment opportunities that are particularly suited to companies innovating with photonics.  
  • European Photonics Venture Forum, an annual match-making programme organised to connect selected photonics companies with suitable investors. 
  • The INPHO Venture Summit, a well-established deep tech event with a particular focus on photonics.  
  • Photonics Investor Days as part of other major European deep tech events to connect selected photonics-enabled start-up and scale-up companies with suitable corporate investors and venture capital firms, including intensive investment-readiness coaching for the selected companies. 

Guidance to regional support Services 
PhotonHub fosters a strong, tightly connected network of local photonics innovation hubs covering most regions of Europe. See the list of hubs across Europe here. This means that any company in any sector in any region of Europe has the possibilities to explore and exploit photonics for innovation and improvement in their business processes, products and/or services with a combination of the best local and cross-border support offerings. 

Photonics Finland is the Finnish local hub, contact us for any question you might have about how to use these services.  

Contact Information: PhD Ana Gebejes, ana.gebejes@photonics.fi, +358414760113