Industry Day - a great success!

The Centre's Industry Day held at UCL on 20th January attracted strong interest from industry.

The EPSRC funded Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Photonic Systems Development set up jointly between UCL and Cambridge University held a successful Industry Day on 20th January at UCL’s Bloomsbury campus in London. Over 80 people attended from a wide range of companies who have contributed to supporting student projects and collaborative research within the Centre over the last 3 years.

The audience heard from Dr Katie Blaney (EPSRC) and Dr Andrew Shields (Toshiba Europe Laboratories) about EPSRC’s plans for Photonics research within the Information and Communications Technology Theme and Toshiba’s research into quantum information processing, including how the Centre’s staff and students at Cambridge have helped contribute to the development of a single photon detector with the highest count rate among any other photon detector – a staggering 1 gigacount/second. 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.

In lively company presentation and ideas sessions, industry speakers outlined their interest in photonics and ideas to contribute to the activity of the Centre and views on the potential growth areas that could become a focus for the Centre.

The final session included presentations on how companies can benefit by interacting with the Centre through offering MRes or PhD projects to students, with a wide range of different opportunities for industry involvement on offer. The photonics industry is growing rapidly and experts predict photonic systems will become one of the most significant enabling technologies of the next few decades. Centre Director, Professor Alwyn Seeds said “Graduates from the Centre’s four 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 products, 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 and biomedicine.”

Dr Katie Blaney, Portfolio Manager for Photonics at the EPSRC said “The Centre’s Doctoral Training in an open, collaborative, community environment focused on student-supervisor-industry interaction empowers students to work effectively in both UCL and Cambridge and to invent and develop new systems with embedded photonics, for a wide range of applications. This is clearly aligned with the current EPSRC cross-ICT priority Photonics for Future Systems.”

The day concluded with the launch of a call for student projects, which give organisations the opportunity to get involved in shaping the future research direction of the Centre. Companies were invited to consider the opportunity for the Centre’s staff and students to help them advance their research and technology strategies and accelerate the commercialisation of research. Interested companies should contact the Centre’s Business Development Officer Tim Bodley-Scott for more information.