Digital Innovation Hub Photonics

Support for founders and young entrepreneurs in photonics

Fraunhofer IOF / February 21, 2019

Together with the head of Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF and Institute of Applied Physics of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Prof. Andreas Tünnermann, Thuringia's minister for economic affairs and science, Wolfgang Tiefensee, has launched the »Digital Innovation Hub Photonics« today. The aim of the project is to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SME's) and start-ups to turn their ideas into marketable products as quickly as possible. The project is being coordinated by the High Performance Center for Photonics in Jena.

New technologies are the fundamental drivers of innovation in photonics. Often founders and startups, however, lack the scientific, technological and financial capacities to independently pursue research and development with the highest standards or initiate risky innovation projects. With the pilot project »Digital Innovation Hub Photonics«, the High Performance Center for Photonics, based in Jena, has set itself the goal of actively supporting innovative startups and SME's in the fields of optics and photonics on the path of product development and market introduction to turn innovative ideas into marketable solutions as quickly as possible and to ensure sustainable development and unique position. On february 21st, 2019, on the occasion of the official launch, a kick-off meeting with a round table and laboratory tour took place at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena. The project was presented in the presence of Thuringian Minister for Economics, Science and Digital Society, Wolfgang Tiefensee.

Accelerate transfer of knowledge into business

»Optics is one of Thuringia's innovative showcase industries«, said Minister Tiefensee in his greeting words. »But the challenge remains to accelerate the transfer of knowledge from research to industry and to get from the first idea to the marketable product, from the research result to the startup. We want to achieve exactly that with the Digital Innovation Hub Photonics as a regional transfer center.« He also referred to the Thuringian optics companies, which account for almost twelve percent of sales for research and an export quota of 66 percent and in whose environment more than 1,300 employees are active. Especially Jena, with its university, university of applied sciences and the Fraunhofer IOF, is a center of the Thuringian photonics industry. Prof. Andreas Tünnermann, head of Fraunhofer IOF and Institute of Applied Physics of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, added: »Photonics offers solutions in almost all fields of demand of a modern society. With the Digital Innovation Hub Photonics, we offer the opportunity to translate creative ideas and concepts from the field of photonics together with founders quickly and efficiently into successful products.«

Support through know-how and infrastructure

From now on the team around project manager Dr. Robert Kammel is available for anybody interested in technology and innovation management. »With our design and tech teams, we help startups both in product definition and in the development of viable business models and market-driven demonstrators. Because these are an essential prerequisite for successful cooperation with partners, customers and lenders.« The project »Digital Innovation Hub Photonics« is an initiative of the Thuringian Ministry of Economics, Science and Digital Society. By the year 2020, it will be supported with a sum of 1 million euros. The goal of the project is the future development into a national photonics start-up and transfer center.