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Accelerating Photonics innovation for SME’s (ACTPHAST 4.0) Accelerating Photonics innovation for SME’s: a one stop-shop-incubator ACTPHAST 4.0

Contact Data

Coordinator

Brussels Photonics-Vrije Universiteit Brussel B-PHOT VUB

Year Established

2013

Location

Brussels Photonics B-PHOT, Vrije Universiteit, B-1050, Brussel (Belgium)

Website

http://www.actphast.eu

Social Media

Contact Name

Prof. Hugo Thienpont

Contact Email

hthienpo@vub.ac.be

Contact Phone

+32 2 791 6852

Description

Description

Given the importance of photonics as a key enabling technology, and the urgency surrounding the re-industrialization of Europe, it is essential that every European company looks at their own products and asks the question – “can my product be made much better by incorporating cutting-edge photonics”? Unfortunately for many companies, especially SMEs, this question poses significant obstacles because they don’t have the in-house expertise in photonics, or easy access to cutting-edge photonics technologies, to properly explore the innovation potential for their products. This is where ACTPHAST comes in. The ACTPHAST model is unique in a European context in that it is set up to provide a single entry point into a fully integrated prototyping supply chain across the broad spectrum of photonics technology platforms. ACTPHAST makes this cutting-edge photonics technology and expertise available in a subsidized format to any European company – with a particular emphasis on SMEs – for the purposes of collaborating on photonics innovation projects which will have a substantial impact on the companies’ business growth in terms of new revenues and job creation. The key point is that the companies are treated as “valued customers” of ACTPHAST to be provided with best-effort services and solutions in co-creation of new products, rather than simply providing the companies with advice or finance to deploy on their own. ACTPHAST meets the grand challenge of integrating all of the best research partners and photonics technology platforms into one cohesive Europe-wide access center with streamlined processes and procedures for collaboration with SMEs on rapid and effective product innovation. The core purpose of ACTPHAST is to identify and execute innovation projects aimed at addressing specific challenges in a company’s new product development process using photonics, which if solved can result in accelerated time-to-market, revenue growth and new job creation. In delivering on this purpose, ACTPHAST is structured around 3 core activities as follows: 1. Outreach to companies to create awareness and generate expressions of interest from European industry in carrying out photonics innovation projects 2. Innovation support to companies to define and deliver challenging innovation projects between the ACTPHAST partners and the companies driven by their business needs 3. Coordination and Impact Measurement of activities to monitor performance against the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and steer the programme of work to ensure that all objectives are met ACTPHAST is particularly geared towards rapid innovation projects of typically 7 months’ duration, purely driven by the business needs of the companies, with low administrative burden for the companies and up to 100% subsidy for SMEs (50% for large-scale companies), averaging out at just under 45K€ per project. ACTPHAST is, by design, focused on helping companies accelerate their product innovation from Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 3 to 7 in order to achieve faster “time-to-market”. In short, ACTPHAST bridges the “photonics expertise and technology gap” for companies and takes a huge amount of the risk out of innovating with photonics by finding and mobilizing dedicated task forces made up of the right experts and technologies from amongst the ACTPHAST partners’ capabilities comprising of 7 state-of-the-art photonics technology platforms with full supply chains, and 150 experts fully trained and ready to support SMEs. ACTPHAST then funds the expert task forces to carry out innovation projects with the companies. In return, the companies have to demonstrate that they are fully committed to their project and have a strong probability of achieving a substantial impact on their revenue and jobs growth as a result.

Given the importance of photonics as a key enabling technology, and the urgency surrounding the re-industrialization of Europe, it is essential that every European company looks at their own products and asks the question – “can my product be made much better by incorporating cutting-edge photonics”? Unfortunately for many companies, especially SMEs, this question poses significant obstacles because they don’t have the in-house expertise in photonics, or easy access to cutting-edge photonics technologies, to properly explore the innovation potential for their products. This is where ACTPHAST comes in. The ACTPHAST model is unique in a European context in that it is set up to provide a single entry point into a fully integrated prototyping supply chain across the broad spectrum of photonics technology platforms. ACTPHAST makes this cutting-edge photonics technology and expertise available in a subsidized format to any European company – with a particular emphasis on SMEs – for the purposes of collaborating on photonics innovation projects which will have a substantial impact on the companies’ business growth in terms of new revenues and job creation. The key point is that the companies are treated as “valued customers” of ACTPHAST to be provided with best-effort services and solutions in co-creation of new products, rather than simply providing the companies with advice or finance to deploy on their own. ACTPHAST meets the grand challenge of integrating all of the best research partners and photonics technology platforms into one cohesive Europe-wide access center with streamlined processes and procedures for collaboration with SMEs on rapid and effective product innovation. The core purpose of ACTPHAST is to identify and execute innovation projects aimed at addressing specific challenges in a company’s new product development process using photonics, which if solved can result in accelerated time-to-market, revenue growth and new job creation. In delivering on this purpose, ACTPHAST is structured around 3 core activities as follows: 1. Outreach to companies to create awareness and generate expressions of interest from European industry in carrying out photonics innovation projects 2. Innovation support to companies to define and deliver challenging innovation projects between the ACTPHAST partners and the companies driven by their business needs 3. Coordination and Impact Measurement of activities to monitor performance against the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and steer the programme of work to ensure that all objectives are met ACTPHAST is particularly geared towards rapid innovation projects of typically 7 months’ duration, purely driven by the business needs of the companies, with low administrative burden for the companies and up to 100% subsidy for SMEs (50% for large-scale companies), averaging out at just under 45K€ per project. ACTPHAST is, by design, focused on helping companies accelerate their product innovation from Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 3 to 7 in order to achieve faster “time-to-market”. In short, ACTPHAST bridges the “photonics expertise and technology gap” for companies and takes a huge amount of the risk out of innovating with photonics by finding and mobilizing dedicated task forces made up of the right experts and technologies from amongst the ACTPHAST partners’ capabilities comprising of 7 state-of-the-art photonics technology platforms with full supply chains, and 150 experts fully trained and ready to support SMEs. ACTPHAST then funds the expert task forces to carry out innovation projects with the companies. In return, the companies have to demonstrate that they are fully committed to their project and have a strong probability of achieving a substantial impact on their revenue and jobs growth as a result.

Link to national or regional initiatives for digitising industry

There is a real sense of urgency for digital transformation of European industry as the relative contribution of industry to the EU economy is declining. The European economy has lost a third of its industrial base over the past 40 years. By the third quarter of 2014, the value added by manufacturing to the economy in the EU represented only 15.3% of total value added, a decline of 1.2 percentage points since the beginning of 2008. Industry 4.0 presents a real opportunity to turn the tide in Europe’s favour, with a particular focus on SMEs and entrepreneurship. Innovation and digitization therefore go hand-in-hand as fundamental drivers of future prosperity. At the heart of this digital revolution lies Photonics. Photonics – the science and technology of harnessing light - is everywhere around us now. Yet we are only at the beginning of what is possible. As one of the six pillar Key Enabling Technologies (KETs), photonics is essential to the functioning of the new applications which are powering Industry 4.0 and which are needed to address our major ACTPHAST 4.0 CONFIDENTIAL Page | 3 societal challenges. New advances in photonics will revolutionize so many industries and have far-reaching implications for business and society. Photonics technologies will be used to launch all sorts of new and better products in wide-ranging end-user industries from sustainable energy and environmental safety, to healthcare and wearables, to intelligent transport and communications systems, as well as being a key enabling technology for the transformation of production methods and new business models in European manufacturing. The vital importance of photonics is reflected in economic terms by its emergence as a strategically valuable sector of the global economy valued at around 458B€ in 2015 and forecast to grow to 615B€ by 2020*. Europe has established a strong position in the global photonics market with an overall total share of over 14% (excluding photovoltaics), but with particular strengths in key sub-sectors such as laser materials processing and lithography (51% global market share) as well as in measurement and image processing (36%), medical technology and life science (28%), optical components and systems (37%), lighting (25%) and in defence and security (23%). However Europe’s position is under severe pressure from global competition, and from China in particular. China continued to be the winner of market shares in photonics during the last decade. Its production share in the global market increased from 10% in 2005 to nearly 30% in 2015. China is now the clear leader in the photonics market according to the origin of product, substantially ahead of Japan, Europe, North America, Korea and Taiwan. It is clear therefore that the outcome of the new digitization paradigm Industry 4.0 for European industry – incorporating both the photonics and “photonics-enabled” end user industries - will depend on European companies, the vast majority of which are SMEs, being ready and capable of seizing the opportunities afforded by digitization through innovation with photonics, faster and better than their global competitors.

Market and Services

Market sectors

  • Agriculture, hunting and forestry
  • Construction
  • Transport, storage and communication
  • Health and social work
  • Manufacture of food products, beverages and tobacco
  • Manufacture of textiles and textile products
  • Manufacture of chemicals, chemical products and man-made fibres
  • Manufacture of machinery and equipment
  • Manufacture of electrical and optical equipment
  • Manufacture of transport equipment

TRL Focus

  • TRL3 - Analytical and experimental critical function and/or characteristic proof of concept
  • TRL4 - Component and/or breadboard validation in laboratory environment
  • TRL5 - Component and/or breadboard validation in relevant environment
  • TRL6 - System/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment
  • TRL7 - System prototype demonstration in an operational environment

Services provided

  • Awareness creation
  • Ecosystem building, scouting, brokerage, networking
  • Collaborative Researchs
  • Concept validation and prototyping
  • Testing and validation
  • Pre-competitive series production
  • Incubator/accelerator support
  • Market intelligence
  • Education and skills development

Organization

Organizational form

Project (formalized end time)

Turnover

>5.000.000

Number of employees

>100

Evolutionary State

Fully operational

Geographical Scope

European

Funding

  • Horizon 2020
  • National basic research funding
  • Regional funding
  • Partner resources
  • Other

Customers

Number of customers annually

>50

Type of customers

  • Start-up companies
  • SMEs (<250 employees)
  • MidCaps (between €2-10 billion turnover)
  • Large companies, multi-nationals

Partners

Partner

LioniX International


Partner

Europe Unlimited t/a TechTour (EUN)


Partner

Polytechnic University of Catalonia UPC Spain


Partner

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)


Partner

Itä-Suomen Yliopisto UEF Finland


Partner

University of Southampton ORC United Kingdom


Partner

SMART Photonics BV SPH Netherlands


Partner

Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (TUE)


Partner

Politechnika Warszawska WUT Poland


Partner

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

Digitization technological focus

  • Organic and Large Area Electronics (OLAE)
  • Micro and nano electronics, smart system integration
  • Sensors, actuators, MEMS, NEMS, RF
  • Photonics, electronic and optical functional materials
  • Screens and display technologies
  • Broadband and other communication networks (e.g. 5G)
  • Cyber physical systems (e.g. embedded systems)
  • Robotics and autonomous systems
  • Internet of Things (e.g. connected devices, sensors and actuators networks)
  • Interaction technologies (e.g. human-machine Interaction, motion recognition and language technologies)
  • Advanced or High performance computing
  • Augmented and virtual reality, visualization
  • Simulation and modelling
  • Additive manufacturing (3D printing)
  • Laser based manufacturing
  • ICT management, logistics and business systems
  • New Media technologies
Last updated: 24/11/17 11:16