Strong industry attendance at Photonics Industry Day

Over 25 companies attended the Centre's Annual Photonics Industry Day in Cambridge on 14th January and several have already pledged to provide industry focused student projects to our students.


The University of Cambridge's William Gates Building hosted this year's Photonics Industry Day which aims to showcase the Centre's teaching and research and encourage industry to provide projects for our postgraduate students.

Over 25 companies including BAE Systems, Thales, Qioptiq, Dow Corning and Total attended the event and met our largest cohort ever of students who are looking for research project proposals for projects to run from May - September this year.

Professor Alwyn Seeds introduced the Centre, now in it's fourth year encompassing a wide range of research groups and academics from across the two world leading universities of UCL and Cambridge. The Centre now has 83 students in total.

Dr Susan Peacock, ICT Portfolio Manager for the EPSRC explained the cross-ICT research priorities including 'Photonics for Future Systems' which aims to encourage long term leading edge material and device research and cover areas such as electronics, communications and software. Currently the EPSRC fund 80 Centres for Doctoral Training accross the UK and 25 include a significant ICT element.

Professor Mike Wale, Director of Active Products Research from Oclaro delivered a key note talk titled 'Photonic Integration for High Performance Systems' and explained how the growth in internet traffic is driving significant changes in technology. He mentioned collaborative projects Oclaro are working with the Centre on including coherent systems for next generation optical access. Photonic Integrated Chip (PIC) technologies have high commercial value and are vital for leadership in telecommunications and other fields. Oclaro has a major investment in equipment, facilities and R&D at Caswell in the UK. Mike discussed applying a generic foundry platform model, used to great effect in microelectronics, to the photonics industry. For Oclaro, working with key universities is a vital part of their technology strategy and Mike believes that the skills built up in the UCL-Cambridge Centre are well targeted for the future of photonics.

A dozen companies gave presentations about their interest in photonics and several are already in discussion with us about offering projects to our students. Four of our PhD students gave presentations about their photonic systems research, spanning computer science, physics and civil engineering.

Finally Dr Cyril Renaud, Assistant Director of the Centre, invited companies to submit project proposals via the Centre's website for industry linked MRes projects which can be based either at UCL, Cambridge or at the premises of an industrial partner. The deadline for MRes project proposals is 28th February 2013 and the deadline for PhD topic proposals is 30th March 2013. Projects will then be approved by the Research Strategy Committee and selected by students in April (MRes) and June (PhD).