30 May 2012
The first Fraunhofer Centre to be established in the UK will be based at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.
Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Europe's largest organisation for applied research, is creating 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.
At the same time Fraunhofer will establish UK headquarters, Fraunhofer UK Research Ltd, at the University, which will be the umbrella organisation for any additional UK-based research centres in the future.
The Fraunhofer Centre will be based in the University’s world-class Technology and Innovation Centre, which was launched in March last year and is transforming the way universities, business and industry collaborate to find solutions to global challenges, create jobs and support the economy.
The new Fraunhofer Centre is funded by Fraunhofer and the University, the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Funding Council. The Centre for Applied Photonics is expected to be the model for more Fraunhofer research centres around the UK.
Glasgow's global reputation in technology research
Education Secretary Michael Russell announced the launch of the centre. He said: "Scottish universities are known around the world for their excellence and Glasgow has a global reputation for advanced research and technology.
"Building on the links between education and industry is a win-win situation that will benefit our economy. 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."
Professor Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde said: “Our collaborative approach is playing a critical role in the development of tomorrow’s highly-skilled graduates and next-generation leaders, ensuring our students’ education is informed by the very latest research and the needs of global employers.
“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 design and develop the products and services of tomorrow.”
The UK headquarters and the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics will join a growing community of Fraunhofer Centres globally.
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.
Professor Ulrich Buller, a Senior Vice-President and Executive Board member of Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, said: “Fraunhofer is extremely pleased to have this opportunity to collaborate more closely with the University of Strathclyde. 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.
“Consequently, Fraunhofer has been eager, for some time, to create a Research Centre in Glasgow in conjunction with Strathclyde.”
University's collaborative approach
The news marks the latest in a series of partnerships for the University in the past year.
Earlier this month, the University announced it has been selected as the exclusive European partner for South Korea’s global research and commercialisation programme.
In February, Business Secretary Vince Cable announced the University would play a key role in the UK’s Catapult Centre for Offshore Renewable Energy – a collaborative hub for energy research and development. Strathclyde is already a partner in the UK’s Catapult Centre for High Value Manufacturing.
Entrepreneurial students and researchers are benefiting from a three-year agreement with one of the world’s largest banks, Santander, announced in December.
In September, the Duke of York visited the site of the University’s Power Network Demonstration Centre, a hub to accelerate the adoption of ‘smart’ technologies including advanced power grids and electric cars. The same month, the University forged a four-year research partnership with wind energy giants Gamesa.
Investment for growth
Welcoming the announcement, Lena Wilson, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise, said, "Fraunhofer centres excel in helping companies to develop new products from research.
"Having this centre in Scotland will bring significant benefits for our companies, helping them to invest in their growth, sharpen their competitive edge and compete in global markets. The Fraunhofer Centre location at the Technology and Innovation Centre is ideal, as it’s rapidly becoming a major hub for world leading technology and innovation."