About us

The EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Photonics, based at the University of Southampton, has been set up with world-class facilities and capabilities for research into advanced manufacturing of new photonic materials, fibres and components.  An important part of its mission is to enable the UKís photonics sector, which already accounts for a healthy 2.3% of global production volume, to go from strength to strength in the years ahead.

In the fast-developing, fiercely competitive global market for ground-breaking products and ideas, this means advancing the frontiers of understanding about photonic materials and devices. More specifically, the EPSRC Centre seeks to enable UK firms to extend their product portfolios and introduce innovative yet cost-competitive manufacturing processes.

Background

Photonics technologies are already changing lives in extraordinary ways; optical fibres provide global communication, navigate airliners, aid defence, transform medical procedures and protect the environment.

The UK has played a major role in shaping the optical fibre industry, and the University of Southampton with its highly regarded Optoelectronics Research Centre is at the forefront of fibre development thanks to continued support from the EPSRC.

Optical fibres and fibre-related products are increasingly becoming the enabling technology for a vast range of industries either in the manufacturing of products or as components within the products themselves.

There is a strong need to continue innovating and manufacturing market-worthy fibres, in order to sustain growth in the fast expanding fibre-based manufacturing sectors.  The EPSRC have funded this new Centre in photonics to ensure that the UK exploits fibre innovation to the full and promote growth in this area.

Working with industry

The photonics industrial sector comprises a majority of SMEs, who typically donít have the resources to invest heavily in the leading-edge R&D capital infrastructure vital to keep a competitive edge. The ESPRC Centre addresses this by providing access to state-of-the-art equipment and expertise that companies can exploit to help them design, develop and test technologies that really can keep the UK at the vanguard of the global photonics industry.

The EPSRC Centre will work with companies ranging from start-ups to well-established firms and liaise closely with research centres across Europe. Thirteen industrial partners are initially involved with the EPSRC Centre.

Industrial secondments will play a key role in disseminating the knowledge and skills developed at the EPSRC Centre. As intellectual property is generated, the EPSRC Centre will also look to exploit it, where appropriate, through licensing arrangements, joint ventures and spin-off companies such as the cluster of ten firms in the Southampton area already commercialising key aspects of ORC research.

Training the photonics pioneers of the future

The ESPRC Centre will also invest in the next generation of photonics pioneers by providing training opprotunities through the ORC PhD programme. More information about the PhD programme and the projects available with the EPSRC Centre can be found on the PhD section of the ORC website.