Effective November 2013 the "Photonics 21 Association" - a legal entity under Belgium law - was formed to become the private contract partner in a contractual Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement with the EU Commission in the frame of Horizon 2020, the 8th European Framework Programme for Research & Innovation.
Photonics21, the European Technology Platform (ETP) representing the European Photonics Community since 2005, was invited to form such a Photonics Public Private Partnership back in 2012. As one of six Key Enabling Technologies (KET's) in Europe Photonics plays a major role for driving growth and employment in Europe and contributes to solve the major societal challenges such as aging society, energy efficiency, inclusion and smart living.
The Photonics PPP represents a long-term commitment between the European Commission and the photonics stakeholders to invest in Europe with the aim of securing Europe's industrial leadership and economic growth, a highly skilled workforce, and the capability to generate new jobs that attract young people. A seven years Multiannual Strategic Roadmap – Towards 2020 – Photonics Driving Economic Growth in Europe underpins the proposed activities of this Key Enabling Technology of growing photonics manufacturing and employment and act as a basis of the new Public Private Partnership.
Photonics21 President Michael Mertin, CEO Jenoptik, stressed that: "Boosting economic growth and the creation of jobs in Europe through strengthening its innovation capacity will be the major challenges of Horizon 2020. Through the establishment of a Public Private Partnership the photonics community fully commits to strive for photonics innovation in Europe and to reinforce the cooperation between public and private sectors. Our innovation capacity will substantially contribute to Europe's economy and thus benefit European citizens."
Since 2014 the Photonics21 Association acts as a "mouthpiece" of the European Technology Platform Photonics21 (and its more than 2000 members) towards the European Commission in the Photonics Public Private Partnership.