North Wales photonics launchpad competition to fund R&D projects

Innovate UK, the Welsh government and the Welsh Opto-Electronics Forum are providing £500,000 (about $740,000) to fund R&D projects by businesses focused on light technologies in the St. Asaph area of North Wales.

The North Wales Photonics Launchpad competition aims to stimulate the region’s photonics cluster by helping micro, small and medium-sized businesses. There are around 80 companies in the Welsh photonics sector around St. Asaph, employing 5,000 people and seeing steady growth of 8 percent per year, according to the U.K. government.

In addition to funding, competition winners will receive help raising additional capital to support their projects, and participate in a program of business support and growth activities.

The competition is open to photonics, electro-optics and optoelectronics technologies that have the potential to create new products and services for a range of sectors, such as optical communications, manufacturing and materials processing, health and life sciences, lighting, energy, security, and safety.

Innovate UK expects total project prizes to range from £50,000 to £90,000 and for projects to last up to 12 months. Micro and small businesses could receive up to 70 percent of their project costs, and medium-sized business up to 60 percent.