TCI 2013 Action to Support Photonic Innovation Clusters in Europe


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By Gerard O'Connor, National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland, presented at the 16th TCI Global Conference, Kolding 2013.

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  • Good morning. ASPICE is CSA to Support Photonic Innovation Clusters in Europe.On behalf of my colleagues in the FP7 ASPICE project, I thought to share some perspectives on high tech photonic clusters, specifically on internationalisation and matchmaking.
  • I understand that every interaction at TCI2013 must start with a question, so my question is ... How can sustainable online matchmaking processes for photonic innovation clusters be realised ?The question has emerged following a review of value chains for the photonic sectors.
  • Photonics is a discipline that began with the birth of the laser over 50 years ago. I show a photograph of the co-inventor of the laser ART Schawlow. The story goes that Art was challenged to show the potential of the first ruby laser to Television news crew soon after its invention. The news crew probably hoped for something like goldfinger, but the best Art could do with the new technology was to deflate a blue “Mickeymouse” balloon without damaging a transparent outer balloon.
  • 50+ years on we urgently need international value chainsto expand Internet speed and capacity by a factor of 100,to bring solar power generation costs to be on a par with those associated with fossil fuelsto increase efficiencies in health careto enable reconfigurable manufacturing.
  • Europe has a considerable photonics capability.Photonics is one of 6 key enabling technologies. Europe comprises of over 20% of the global photonics market, It has 5,000 companies and well over 1,000 research organisations active in the field.
  • We also need interdisciplinary matchmaking to exploit the ‘leverage’ effect of photonics.The best estimates are that the photonics market is one fifthieth the markets that it leveragesPhotonics is reported to impact around 10% of the European economy.
  • 90% of the operating businesses that participate in the European Technology platform are SMES.These business offer key agility to Europe’s photonic sectors.The role of clusters in supporting such business units in realising more radical innovations is very important.
  • In ASPICE we have mapped the Photonics clusters, they are shown in Grey. In ASPICE we are challenged to find ways for how photonic clusters can reach into other application focused clusters to address grand societal problems; these are health and security, marked with red and green, respectively.There are approximately 40 Photonics clusters in Europe. In the ASPICE project we have engaged with 27 or so.
  • We engaged with the 27 clusters on the bases of questionnaires, interviews, workshops, reviews of website, and benchmarking with simple cluster models. We have polled cluster managers on what best practice is. Best practice is the performance of a task in way that gives you the optimal outcome.
  • Other results are pretty much as expected. Photonics innovation clusters are strongest when Rivalry is present and also when there is a well developed value chain.
  • From an internal evaluation, we have found photonics clusters engage only in a limited way with internationalisation. Photonics is a highly specified technology. Rarely are all the skillsets in a single cluster. The challenge arises as to how one can enable clusters collaborate or communicate their value chains more effectively.
  • I show a sample typical value chain; left to right are basic materials, components, systems, end users, applications. The value chain is well populated at the centre. At the edges it is scantly populated. The low density of members at the application end, on the right, is of most concern because the highest value lies there.
  • Our assumption is that the photonic companies who would occupy this applied space, are most likely to exist in other clusters. Given the relevance of photonics to the many different interdisciplinary clusters, the challenge is how to make a match visible in the value chains of these clusters ?
  • The Aspice proposal is to empower photonics cluster managers / members to identify high value opportunitiesTo apply on-line tools to promptly identify where expertise or specialisation exists, and to use this information to target trust building and event based matchmaking subsequently.
  • The key question is which on-line tool can be used to identify the appropriate cluster or value chain?Moreover, can a preliminary assessment be made with some minor assistance promptly within weeks?
  • It is clear that one tool which has the potential is the EEN. The EEN is supported by team of experts, well mentored, appears to be sustainable to 2020, and is broadly applicable across a number of areas.
  • The problem is that when we test the EEN for Photonics technologies, the results are sparse.Perhaps this could be due to imprecise coding of the Photonic industries in the database.But more likely it is due to a lack of entries in the EEN databases.
  • So my challenge this morning is to stimulate a discussion on how cluster managers can engage with the army of 3,000 EEN experts in the 600 offices, or another sustainable on-line tool, to create a sustainable online inter-cluster and interdisciplinary match making service.
  • I also welcome any comments or questions. And I thank you for your attention and
  • Finally I would like to thank my colleagues in the ASPICE team. Names and affiliations.
  • TCI 2013 Action to Support Photonic Innovation Clusters in Europe

    1. 1. Action to Support Photonic Innovation Clusters in Europe Gerard O’ Connor Breakout Session: Transnational cluster collaboration 5 September 2013
    2. 2. Action to Support Photonic Innovation Clusters in Europe
    3. 3. ? How can sustainable matchmaking processes for photonic innovation clusters be realised?
    4. 4. Birth of the laser, ~ 1960 Early years, a technology looking for a problem
    5. 5. 50+ years on Photonics is greatly challenged by societal needs ICT Energy Manufacturing Health
    6. 6. Leverage
    7. 7. SME 90% of members are SMEs
    8. 8. ASPICE photonics cluster map
    9. 9. In ASPICE we have tried to share best practice
    10. 10. Rivalry is important
    11. 11. Heat map for sample photonics value chain
    12. 12. Connecting regions of smart specialisation
    13. 13. The ASPICE proposition Empower cluster managers /members To propose innovative solutions to key societal needs Employ traditional matchmaking to build relationships and value chains based on trust Use on-line tools to rapidly assess regions of specialisation (heat maps) Progress opportunities & competitiveness
    14. 14. Which on line tool ?
    15. 15. Need to increase the overlap
    16. 16. Challenge An appropriate sustainable on-line tool on which clusters work with members to upload company profiles at every opportunity.
    17. 17. Thank you
    18. 18. Acknowledgement • Image of ASPICE team