Free photonics advice for West Midlands businesses


8 November 2012

Aston University is offering free support and guidance to businesses keen on developing photonic technologies, such as fibre optics and laser sensors.

This £600,000 project, open to SME’s in the West Midlands, is designed to help raise awareness of how photonics can fundamentally change existing technologies of companies and help improve business growth and manufacturing productivity.

Photonics - based on the use of photons (particles of light) - is one of the fastest growing areas of research and technology areas. Photonics-based applications include; telecommunications, data storage, optical imaging, medical diagnostics and many others.

Norman Price, Deputy Chair of the West Midlands ERDF Local Management Committee said;“I am really pleased that we are able to offer additional support through the European Regional Development Fund to phase two of this project which will help businesses in the world of photonic technologies to seize and take forward significant business opportunities.”

He added; “Through this project we are able to help businesses work together and test out new technologies to identify cost savings and help establish brand new products that will boost profits, support longevity of our regional businesses and help strengthen the local economy. Grasping such new technological opportunities is a fundamental basis for economic growth.”

Professor Sergei Turitsyn, from the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Aston University said; “Aston’s Institute of Photonic Technologies is a world recognised centre of excellence and one of the largest research groups in photonics in the UK. This funding for phase two of the project will enable us to transfer our expertise to local SMEs and offer them the technical support required to utilise this innovative technology and help their business to develop.”

The project is funded by the West Midlands European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) which is managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Phase two of the project has secured £295,245 of funding from ERDF which will be matched by Aston University.

The recently completed phase one of the project saw 60 businesses involved in developing new fibre-optic technologies and offered innovative knowledge transfer. This latest phase will provide further technical support, such as bespoke demonstrator units, and enable further knowledge transfer activities.


For further information on this project contact Kaiming Zhou, k.zhou@aston.ac.uk.

To discover more about working in partnership with Aston University contact Elizabeth Rogers in the Business Partnership Unit, e.rogers2@aston.ac.uk.