On January 1st 2015, just on time for the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, the EU started the project "Photonics4all" in the framework of its promotion programme "HORIZON 2020".
Under the auspices of the Steinbeis Europe Center OptecNet Germany and nine partners from eight European countries are going to put photonics into the public limelight. With modern tools specially designed for this purpose particularly young people can explore the fascinating field of optical technologies and learn more about the wide range of light applications. Informative events for everybody will illuminate the importance of light for society, science and industry. At the same time this initiative aims at strengthening the innovative power of the photonics industry by promoting interdisciplinary cooperation with other high-tech industries.
On the occasion of this project the regional networks of OptecNet Germany will conduct six innovation workshops. Experts from research institutes, companies (especially SMEs) and business incubators come together in order to develop interdisciplinary ideas and to discuss new approaches to the "Open Innovation" method. In close cooperation with the participants of the innovation workshops and the European partners OptecNet will develop a freely accessible innovation methodology.
Germany's first photonic science slam took place in cooperation with the Baden-Wuerttemberg foundation in Stuttgart on April 23 and inspired a predominantly young audience of over 100. Similar to a poetry slam, the slammers gave fascinating insights into current photonics research - amusing and easy to understand.
In 2016 there will be another photonic science slam and a start-up challenge to publicize and award prizes to outstanding business models of young and innovative entrepreneurs from all over Europe.
To address the young generation Photonics4all develops further training courses for teachers and organizes photonics university lectures for children. A Boot Camp in autumn 2015 successfully conveyed basics knowledge to young company founders, another is planned for 2016. Moreover a photonics app, a game, a quiz and an animated video will be produced to appeal to young people and promote their understanding of photonics.