Communications Networks, Content and Technology
European Commission Directorate General

Photonics and organic electronics activities in EU research programmes (FP7 and Horizon 2020)

Photonics and organic electronics activities in EU research programmes (FP7 and Horizon 2020)


  • In photonics: To secure EU industrial leadership, especially in those market sectors where the European photonics industry is particularly strong (e.g. communications, lighting, medical photonics, laser-based manufacturing and safety & security) and to exploit new emerging market opportunities.
  • In organic and large area electronics (OLAE): To enable the emergence and wide market deployment of this disruptive technology, with Europe taking a leading market position.
  • For both photonics and OLAE: To promote them widely as highly promising S&T fields for the 21st century and help attract more young people and generate new opportunities for knowledge creation and new skills development.


Implementing the relevant FP7 and Horizon 2020 (H2020) calls for proposals in photonics and organic electronics (OLAE) and managing the unit's portfolio of on-going and newly selected research and innovation (R&I) projects.


In Photonics:

  • There is a fragmented and rather uncoordinated development strategy along the value chain and among the regional and national players;
  • The existing fierce global competition requires major further S&T progress and R&I investment for sustaining Europe's industrial competitiveness and leadership in market sectors where Europe is strong.

In OLAE: The following barriers need to be addressed in order to help the area further develop and grow, and move it from an emerging and promising market sector to an established one:

  • The lack of complex organic electronics circuitry and functionalities, and the difficult route to manufacturability of OLAE systems and products;
  • There are too many technical options open, standards are missing, and the present markets are too small;
  • There is fragmented cooperation along the value chain and a need for intense cooperation with large end-users.


Full-Time Equivalent: 
12.00 full-time equivalent (FTE)
In 2013, under FP7 and CIP, we will spend ~ € 110 million in photonics and OLAE related activities and in 2014-2015 under the Horizon 2020 programme we envisage spending of the order of €200 ml (figures including the PPP budget - tbc).

Interactions with Photonics21 and OLAE stakeholders and participation in conferences and other events; etc.

Photonics (Unit A.1)

Awareness raising in photonics and OLAE

Contribution to awareness raising of the photonics and OLAE industrial and academic stakeholders for our programmes and to an enhanced  cooperation in a broadened stakeholder community.



Coverage of the Horizon 2020 work programme

Baseline Industrial participation in the last FP7 calls : 33% industry, with 15% SMEs
Target At least 50% of industrial participation in H2020 calls, with 20% SMEs(2013 to 2015)

High quality R&I projects

High quality projects in photonics and OLAE launched from the calls for proposals addressing:

  • The development of new photonics technologies, processes and products
  • The development of new OLAE devices, systems, processes and technologies
  • New integrating activities across the value chain that help bridge the "valley of death"




Baseline The average number of patents per 10 M€ spent on R&D worldwide (10-15 patents)
Target At least 15 patents filed per year(2013 - 2015)

Project Success Stories

Baseline None
Target At least three major technology breakthroughs per year from running projects (in terms of functionality or performance, e.g.: achieving world record performance in optical data transmission, sensitivity / speed of detection of diseases, etc.)(2013 - 2015)

Contribution to standards

Baseline 20% of projects contributing to standards in ICT in FP6 and FP7
Target At least 20% of projects contributing to standards(2013 - 2015)

New R&I capabilities

Baseline None
Target At least 2-3 open access pilot manufactoring lines established by 2015

Influencing the revenue growth of the photonics and OLAE industry

Influencing the revenue growth of the photonics and OLAE industry and the emergence of new business ecosystems and strong alliances along and across the value chain. These increase the innovation capacity of the European photonics and OLAE industries and influence the European market share of the global photonics and OLAE production.



European market share

Baseline Europe's 2012 position was at 18% of total photonics production (~66/350 B€)
Target Europe supplying at least 18% of market share of photonics by 2020(2020)

Improving the capabilities and innovation potential of the photonics and OLAE companies

Improving the technological and manufacturing capabilities and the innovation potential of the photonics and OLAE companies that are a direct result of our projects, with special emphasis on the innovation and competitive potential of SMEs (both technology providers and end-users).



New photonics and OLAE-enabled products and processes, notably by SMEs

Baseline None
Target At least 100 new products/processes generated by SMEs through the open access infrastructures and services that will be created under H2020 pilot production lines and SME-supporting facilities.(2020)

Influencing the wide diffusion of photonics and OLAE technologies

Influencing the wide diffusion of photonics and OLAE technologies in many application areas addressing societal challenges.



Photonics and OLAE solutions for societal challenges

Baseline None
Target New photonics and OLAE solutions brought to the marketplace via our projects addressing the societal challenges.(2020)

Link to DG CONNECT's Top Level Targets

  • Europe 2020 - 3% of the EU's GDP should be invested in R&D, complemented by a future EU 2020 Headline Innovation Indicator
  • H2020 - By 2020, one third of all Europe's ICT business investment in ICT R&D in the EU should come from companies created within the last two decades
  • Create growth and new jobs, improve skills and education