The role of photonics in tackling future public health and economic challenges

Professor Sir David Payne, Principal Investigator of The Future Photonics Hub and Director of the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC), shares his thoughts on the direction of the UK’s research agenda in the wake of COVID-19, and the role photonics can play in tackling the public health and economic challenges that lie ahead.  Post-budget, and post-COVID, how is government’s research agenda likely to change?   The pandemic will have made many countries much […]

Photonics research – operating in a ‘new normal’

In just a few months, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the world, affecting day-to-day life and disrupting economies around the globe. What impact did this have on the photonics research community, and what challenges and opportunities have we faced as we move into a ‘new normal’?   We asked four distinguished researchers and a final-year PhD student for their perspectives on the UK research landscape, the future of international collaboration, the practicalities of carrying out research in the ‘new normal’, and the […]

A leading voice for the photonics industry

With COVID-19 impacting all sectors of the economy, which will in turn influence future government policy and spending decisions, a strong voice for the photonics industry has never been more important. The Photonics Leadership Group (PLG) has been gathering industry intelligence and facilitating the development of a vision for next-generation photonics, in order to understand the effects of COVID-19 on the sector and inform future research, funding and strategy […]

Future-proofing the internet through fibre optic innovation

The COVID-19 crisis has seen people all over the world rapidly moving their work and social lives online; we have never relied on the internet more. But did you know that the fibre optic network that supports today’s internet was made possible by ground-breaking research at the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at the University of Southampton?  Professor David Richardson, Co-Investigator of The Future Photonics Hub talks about the ORC’s heritage as a pioneering […]

Inspiring the next generation of photonics researchers and engineers

Sparking a passion for photonics   The Future Photonics Hub is inspiring the next generation of photonics researchers and engineers through a range of outreach activities, with the aim of attracting a more diverse workforce to the sector.   Developing a pipeline for the UK photonics workforce  There is a well-recognised need to expand the pipeline of talent coming into the UK photonics sector. But there is also a continuing perception,  among girls and young people from minority ethnic […]

Southampton spin-out celebrates 20 years of innovation

One of the world’s leading fibre laser designers and manufacturers – Southampton spin-out company SPI Lasers – is celebrating 20 years of innovation.  Founded in 2000, as a direct result of pioneering research in Southampton’s Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC), the company now sells products in more than 150 countries around the globe, employs 300 employees, and has an annual turnover of about £70million.  We talk to Professor […]

Championing the positive impact of a more diverse workforce

Dr Kirsty Annand is the driving force behind Opening Up Photonics, an initiative that is helping the photonics industry attract a more diverse workforce, with a particular focus on closing the sector’s gender gap.   Kirsty, who is External Engagement Manager for the Photonic Integration and Advanced Data Storage Centre for Doctoral Training, explains how Opening Up Photonics came about, and how supporting the sector to appeal to a broader demographic will help address […]

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A future manufacturing research hub