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B-PHOT receives European grant for '360 CARLA' project aimed at boosting photonics careers


B-PHOT has been selected as part of an international consortium to receive a prestigious European grant for the '360 CARLA' project. The initiative is designed to tackle the shortage of qualified professionals in photonics fields by promoting careers among students and researchers. The consortium aims to capitalize on the success of the previous project, CARLA, by expanding the pool of participants pursuing careers in photonics.

After the success of the CARLA project, the European consortium has launched the 360 CARLA project, a comprehensive career development initiative aimed at shaping the future of photonics professionals. The 2.5-year European Union-funded project has been awarded a total grant of €1,133,755.00. The project will introduce round-up programs around photonics applications or markets, known as 'verticals,' including Health: Biotech and Medical Photonics, Quantum Technologies/Communications, Energy, Environment and Sustainability, and Manufacturing/Industry 4.0. These programs will offer participants a comprehensive understanding of the photonics ecosystem within each vertical, supported by mentorship, innovation experiences, and training.

Professor Hugo Thienpont and the B-PHOT-team will spearhead the creation and guidelines for the 'Health: Biotech and Medical Photonics' vertical. Their role will include coordinating collaborations with EU initiatives, enhancing the project's offerings with additional content or activities, and providing access to complementary programs within the photonics community.

The project's methodology will be divided into three key phases, focusing on the design, implementation, evaluation, and sustainability of the 360 CARLA programs. A total of 50 activities will be conducted throughout the project duration, encompassing career symposiums, mentorship activities, technical and career development training, and experiences at various institutions.

The impact of 360 CARLA is expected to be significant, contributing to the innovation, entrepreneurship, and productivity of the photonics ecosystem. Moreover, the project aims to foster a more inclusive environment within the photonics field, providing career opportunities for traditionally underrepresented groups. Additionally, the project seeks to develop replicable photonics career development programs focused on applications.

Through initiatives like 360 CARLA, B-PHOT continues to demonstrate its commitment to advancing photonics education and fostering talent in this critical area of science and technology.

About 360 CARLA

The 360 CARLA project signifies a collective commitment to foster the next generation of photonics leaders, encouraging innovation, diversity, and growth in the field. The project brings together a consortium of 12 partners, including ICFO (coordinator of the project), Photonics Austria, Max Born Institute, Politecnico di Milano, Institut d’Optique, International Laser Centre, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Delft University of Technology, Photonics Sweden, Photonics Finland, European Optical Society, and SwissPhotonics as an associated partner.

360 CARLA project aims to highlight the various career launch paths in the field of Photonics, which involve training, mentorships, experiences and symposiums. Photonics has emerged as a major technology that has significantly impacted numerous fields, including communications, medicine, energy, and manufacturing. This technology encompasses the study of light and its properties, which has led to the development of numerous innovative products and services. Photonics-related careers are diverse, and they offer exciting opportunities for professionals with different interests, from researchers to technicians. Herein, we aim to organize tailored experiences, training, mentorship, and symposiums to individuals and provide them with a deeper understanding of the many applications of photonics, the skills required for specific careers, and guidance on the best way to launch their career paths focusing on innovation and entrepreneurship.

This project has received funding from the European Union Horizon Europe research and innovation program under grant agreement No 101135838.