The University of Strathclyde-based Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics (CAP) is to receive £6.5m over the next five years from the Scottish Government.

Recognised as a world-class centre of excellence, the CAP develops light-driven technologies for industry across a wide range of sectors.

Quantum tech, healthcare, life science, renewable energy, navigation, communication and space are just some of the fields in which Fraunhofer’s world-leading scientists have been helping companies in Scotland, and beyond, to develop and bring products to market over the last nine years.

Such is the technological and economic contribution the Centre is making, not only to Scotland, but globally, that the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise, which is Scotland’s national economic development agency, have committed to continuing to fund Fraunhofer’s activities.

Next generation

This core funding, announced by Ivan McKee MSP, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, will enable the purchase of cutting-edge equipment and doctorate level student training. The latter is a crucial part of the Fraunhofer model and both are essential components in delivering next generation products and processes.

Housed in Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre, Fraunhofer’s CAP is the first of its kind in the UK and has a close relationship with the University. Since its inception it has become a significant player delivering more than 180 projects with 100 companies, typically producing pre-production prototypes and validating novel technology.

The Centre is now a cornerstone of the UK’s quantum technology programme, collaborating widely and working with Scottish companies to win 30% of available funding.

A recent independent assessment found the economic impact of Fraunhofer in Scotland to be substantial, supporting hundreds of jobs and boosting company turnover in the hundreds of millions.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal & Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde, said: “As a leading technological university, Strathclyde is proud of its close relationship with the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics.

“This funding boost is recognition by the Scottish Government of the importance of this centre of excellence, one of the jewels in the Glasgow City Innovation District.

It also recognises the role our strategic collaboration plays in working with industrial partners to develop enabling technologies across a range of sectors that provide innovative solutions to global challenges and support and grow the economy.

Simon Andrews, Executive Director Fraunhofer UK Research said: “This financial support is a base from which Fraunhofer wins more than twice as much again in direct contract research for companies and also in collaborative projects for industry. This model is recognised worldwide as the exemplary way of accelerating innovation.”

Business Minister Ivan McKee said: “I am delighted to announce this further support for the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics, which is a key asset for Scotland’s photonics sector and highly valued by both business and academia.”

“The funding will support the third phase of the centre’s world-class research and innovation activities and is another step towards the Scottish Government’s target of growing business enterprise R&D in Scotland to £1.8 billion by 2025. In the longer term we want to boost Scotland’s innovation performance to match the levels of the best performing countries worldwide.”