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Partnership sets stage for Ontario photonics research to build commercial success


Toronto, ON – The Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) and OptoNet, a Germany-based cluster that is a world leader in optical technology, have signed a memorandum of agreement.

The one-year agreement was signed last week by David Choat, Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) interim president and CEO; Tony Rockingham, assistant deputy minister of the Ministry of Research and Innovation; Matthias Machnig, the minister of economy, labour and technology, Free State of Thurignia; and Dr Ulrich Simon, OptoNet representative.

The agreement links OCE’s Centre of Excellence for Photonics with OptoNet, a cluster of 92 companies that includes leading research and educational organizations, investment companies and public institutions based in Germany’s Thuringia region.

Under the terms of the agreement, the two parties will work collaboratively to strengthen technological and industrial development in the optical technology sector. The agreement also provides for strengthening of industrial and business cooperation by exchanging information, organizing trade missions and benchmarking between Canadian and German companies. It will also support joint R&D activities, particularly between research centres with a special focus on healthcare, information and laser technologies, and exchanges within the framework of joint R&D projects initiated by each of the partners. Finally, it will also support collaboration with regarding to training students on photonics, mainly focused on key fields such as micro-optics, image processing, lasers or optical fibres, and will encourage exchanges of students, academic staff, researchers, post- doctoral fellows by leveraging organizations that provide grants.

“This agreement has tremendous potential for the thriving Ontario photonics industry,” said David Choat, OCE’s interim president and CEO. “With photonics playing an ever-increasing role in areas such as health care the future of the industry is promising.”

“On behalf of Thuringia and OptoNet we are pleased to be part of this international collaboration with Ontario Centres of Excellence in this very exciting field,” said Matthias Machnig, minister of economy, labour and technology for the Free State of Thuringia.

“Many experts believe that photonics will be to the 21st century what electronics were to the 20th,” said John Milloy, Ontario’s minister of research and innovation. “This agreement with Germany’s Thuringia region will help Ontario companies tap into a global market estimated to grow to $800 million over the next two years.”