Strathclyde Technology and Innovation Centre

Fraunhofer laser research centre to open at Strathclyde

The first Fraunhofer Centre to be established in the UK is to be based at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.

Europe's largest contract research organisation, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, is collaborating with the university to set up the new Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics in a strategic collaboration with the University of Strathclyde.

The centre will be a hub for industry-driven laser research and technology for a variety of sectors including healthcare, security, energy and transport.

The Fraunhofer Centre will be based in the University’s Technology and Innovation Centre, which was launched in March last year which aims to transform the way universities, business and industry collaborate to find solutions to global challenges, create jobs and support the economy.

"Scottish universities are known around the world for their excellence and Glasgow has a global reputation for advanced research and technology," said Education Secretary Michael Russell.

"Securing the UK's first Fraunhofer centre is a major achievement for the University of Strathclyde's Technology and Innovation Centre and I look forward to watching this exciting initiative develop."

Fraunhofer will also establish UK headquarters at the University which will be the umbrella organisation for any additional UK-based research centres in the future.

The Centre for Applied Photonics, which is funded by Fraunhofer and the University, the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Funding Council, is expected to be the model for more Fraunhofer research centres around the UK.

"Fraunhofer Centres pride themselves on research that is geared to industry and societal needs – an ethos that closely mirrors our own work at the University of Strathclyde," said Professor Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde.

"It is fitting that the UK’s first Fraunhofer Centre is dedicated to lasers, a thriving industry Scotland has excelled in for decades.

"The plans have already been endorsed by our partners in industry and we look forward to working together to innovate, design and develop the products and services of tomorrow."

Fraunhofer research has formed the basis of a wide range of technologies for industry and products in everyday use, such as the MP3 player and apps for mobile phones, including customised weather reports and music identification systems like the iPhone app, Shazam.

"Fraunhofer is extremely pleased to have this opportunity to collaborate more closely with the University of Strathclyde," said Professor Ulrich Buller, a Senior Vice-President and Executive Board member of Fraunhofer Gesellschaft.

"The University has an excellent reputation for industrial engagement and specifically for photonics research and commercialisation via its Institute of Photonics and other research groups."

Professor Oliver Ambacher, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solid State Applied Physics in Freiburg, the partnering institute of the new Fraunhofer unit in Glasgow, added: "Photonics activity is particularly strong in the UK, and most especially in Scotland.

"I look forward to many years of collaboration between Fraunhofer and the UK companies which will be beneficial to the economies of Scotland, the UK and Europe as a whole."

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