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Prof. Hugo Thienpont introduces ACTPHAST at the PHOTONICS21 annual meeting

April 21, 2014 at 10:19

SMEs are the driving force behind technological and economic innovation in Europe. They draw their business acumen from product focus, flexibility and quick time-to-market. But SMEs are also acutely vulnerable when exposed to innovation roadblocks. This is particularly true for companies operating in the rapidly growing photonics sector, where product innovation is based on cutting-edge light technology and on highly-advanced manufacturing processes. ACTPHAST, an Integrated Project coordinated by B-PHOT VUB and financially supported by the European Commission with an 8M Euro grant, therefore aims at supporting Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) with photonics expertise and cutting edge technologies from 23 European top research institutes. 

At the occasion of PHOTONICS 21’s annual meeting on 27 March 2014 Prof. Hugo Thienpont, director of B-PHOT VUB, presented the new ACTPHAST initiative to support European SMEs with photonics innovation to more than 400 stakeholders of the European Photonics Industry. The ACTPHAST initiative was highly praised by Commisioner Neelie Kroes and by the new Head of the European Commission’s Photonics Unit Dr. Wolfgang Boch. (http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/03/prweb11717012.htm  ) 

The ACTPHAST innovation support model is unique in a European context for three reasons designed to address specific obstacles for SMEs as follows:

  • Minimal Paperwork  - companies availing of support are treated as “customers” and not “partners” of the EU project, and are therefore removed from most of the administration work which is completed on their behalf
  • Fast Decisions and Results  – support is aimed at accelerating time-to-market for innovation projects which are in the early stages of commercial-readiness; a typical project is only 6-9 months duration from start to finish
  • Matching Free Expertise to Business Need  – companies are supported with expertise – free to SMEs – and not grants, based on their business need, through access to the full spectrum of ready-made technology supply chains.

ACTPHAST started serving European companies on January 2014 for a period of 42 months. With the 8M Euro project budget the ACTPHAST consortium aims at supporting 200 companies from a variety of photonics-enabled industrial sectors.

For more information on ACTPHAST: http://www.actphast.eu/

For more information on Photonics 21: http://www.photonics21.org/

Watch the ACTPHAST trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cGAMP1td5U

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Hugo Thienpont
Prof. Dr. Ir.
Hugo Thienpont
Managing Director
Nadia Cornand

Nadia Cornand
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ncornand@b-phot.org
+32 2 791 68 52

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