Linda Hanna-2

Scottish laser centre receives five-year funding boost

The UK’s leading photonics innovation centre is to receive £6.5m over the next five years (2022-2026).

Recognised as a world-class centre of excellence, the Glasgow-based Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics (CAP) develops light-driven technologies for industry across a wide range of sectors.

Security and defence, quantum tech, healthcare, life science, renewable energy, navigation, communication and space are just some of the fields in which Fraunhofer’s world-leading scientists have been helping companies in Scotland, and beyond, to develop and bring products to market over the last nine years.

Such is the technological and economic contribution the Centre is making, not only to Scotland, but globally, that the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise, which is Scotland’s national economic development agency, have today announced their financial commitment to continuing to fund Fraunhofer’s activities. 

This core funding, announced today by Ivan McKee MSP, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, will enable the purchase of cutting-edge equipment and doctorate level student training. The latter is a crucial part of the Fraunhofer model and both are essential components in delivering next generation products and processes.

Fraunhofer is the name given to a network of specialist research centres across Europe, all working on behalf of industry and named after the German physicist, Joseph von Fraunhofer.

Housed in the University of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre,  Fraunhofer’s Centre for Applied Photonics is the first of its kind in the UK. Since its inception it has become a significant player delivering more than 180 projects with 100 companies, typically producing pre-production prototypes and validating novel technology.

The Centre is now a cornerstone of the UK’s quantum technology programme, collaborating widely and working with Scottish companies to win 30% of available funding. 

A recent independent assessment found the economic impact of Fraunhofer in Scotland to be substantial,  supporting hundreds of jobs and boosting company turnover in the hundreds of millions.

Business Minister Ivan McKee said: “I am delighted to announce this further support for the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics, which is a key asset for Scotland’s photonics sector and highly valued by both business and academia.”

 “The funding will support the third phase of the centre’s world-class research and innovation activities and is another step towards the Scottish Government’s target of growing business enterprise R&D in Scotland to £1.8 billion by 2025. In the longer term we want to boost Scotland’s innovation performance to match the levels of the best performing countries worldwide.”

Linda Hanna, Managing Director at Scottish Enterprise, explained, “Nine years ago, Fraunhofer chose Scotland as the location for its first UK research centre, and since then it’s become an established and respected asset that helps Scottish businesses harness innovation for their development and growth.”

Scottish Enterprise is pleased to continue support for Fraunhofer, with £7.6m of Scottish Enterprise funding provided since it opened in Scotland in 2012. This latest funding will help to unlock even more opportunities for companies to develop new products and processes for global markets, and we look forward to working with Simon and his team to achieve this.”

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal & Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde, said: “As a leading technological university, Strathclyde is proud of its close relationship with the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics. 

“This funding boost is recognition by the Scottish Government of the importance of this centre of excellence, one of the jewels in the Glasgow City Innovation District. It also recognises the role our strategic collaboration plays in working with industrial partners to develop enabling technologies across a range of sectors that provide innovative solutions to global challenges and support and grow the economy.”

Simon Andrews, Executive Director Fraunhofer UK Research explained: “This financial support is a base from which Fraunhofer wins more than twice as much again in direct contract research for companies and also in collaborative projects for industry. This model is recognised worldwide as the exemplary way of accelerating innovation.”


Issued by Jill Brown Media on behalf of Fraunhofer UK Research.

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Notes to Editors:

  1. Scottish Enterprise is Scotland's national economic development agency. We’re committed to growing the Scottish economy for the benefit of all, helping create more quality jobs and a brighter future for every region.  
  2. The University of Strathclyde is a leading international technological university based in the centre of Glasgow. Inspired by our founding principle as ‘a place of useful learning’, our mission is to make a positive difference to the lives of our students, to society and to the world. Strathclyde students benefit from an innovative and practical educational experience enhanced by its integration with our research capabilities, high-quality academic resources and an unparalleled industry engagement programme. The excellence of our research is evidenced by our position amongst the UK’s top 20 research-intensive universities, according to the Times Higher Education’s analysis of REF2014, and by the growth in range and scale of our research collaborations. We have also redefined how we collaborate and work with industry, government and the third sector to ensure innovation and knowledge exchange are fundamental activities that deliver tangible impact. Strathclyde was named the Times Higher Education UK University of the Year 2019, the Sunday Times Good University Guide Scottish University of the Year 2020 and was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its excellence in energy innovation in 2019 and for its excellence in advanced manufacturing in 2021.

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