Thales cash boost for Scottish laser research

The winner of a new competition that aims to encourage research into new applications of laser technology in Scottish universities will receive £40,000 for their work.

The Thales Scottish Technology Prize is being backed by Thales UK and Scottish Enterprise in an attempt to strengthen links between the company and the academic community. Prizes will be awarded for the most innovative ideas for using new laser technology applicable to Thales̵7; laser business.

As well as the award for the winner̵7;s current research, there are smaller personal cash prizes for the winner and finalists. The competition is open to all staff and students attending Scottish universities, with the winner due to be named in December.

Thales traces its history in Scotland back to 1888 when Professor Archibald Barr of the University of Glasgow and Dr William Stroud of Yorkshire College set up Barr & Stroud Ltd to make optical range-finders. The company became part of the Thales Group in 2001, having been involved in laser design and manufacturing since it began working on laser rangefinders in 1961.

Today, Thales employs more than 500 staff at its Glasgow site, working on defence projects such as night sights for Challenger 2 tanks, plus Warrior and Scimitar armoured personnel carriers. The factory is also supplying optronics masts that will replace the old-fashioned periscope in the Royal Navy̵7;s new Astute-class submarines.

Adrian Gillespie, Thales UK̵7;s director of digital markets and enabling technologies, believes the competition will help to tease out some of the excellent optoelectronics research being carried out in Scotland.

̶0;Scotland has a rich heritage in optoelectronics technology and we consistently demonstrate capabilities well above a country of our size,̶1; he said. ̶0;Historically, bringing together research and ideas with businesses we can turn these ideas into competitive advantages and new products has been challenging.̶1;

Further information:

Image: Thales̵7; Glasgow manufacturing site

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