European project Photonics4All

Promoting optical technologies in Europe

Photonics, the technology of light, has an important impact on nearly every area of our lives, covering a wide range of applications in science and industry. However it still is not a well-known technology. To address this lack of awareness Photonics4All, a project to promote photonics to young people, entrepreneurs and the general public throughout the EU, was developed by 9 partners. To meet its aim, Photonics4All created tools which were designed, tested and used with the target audiences during 230 outreach events over two years (2015–2016).

An animated video “the Stolen Cup – photonics detectives”, a Photonics App, a Photonics Board Game and Quiz Competition or the organisation of Children’s universities were tools and events developed for young people in order to promote Photonics and raise their interest in studying Photonics. Physics teachers of secondary schools were also trained to teach photonics by making small experiments with light. Last but not least, training courses in photonics from 7 EU countries were also listed. All those tools are available here.

Outreach to Entrepreneurs included: Boot Camps for young entrepreneurs, Innovation workshops using elements of open innovation, a European Start-Up Challenge, various events with investors, as well as a brochure ‘Create your business in Photonics’ with information from 7 different EU countries on technologies and related sectors needing photonics as a key enabling technology. Further info and tools available here.

To increase the public’s awareness of Photonics the following outreach tools and activities were developed: Photonics Campaigns such as light festivals, some of them including light-based scientific shows with the newly developed ‘OmniLight Laboratory’, Photonic Science Slams, various bookmarks about photonic applications, as well as several video expert interviews and articles. More info to be found here.

To enable further impact, the most successful Photonics4All tools and activities were described in three Best Practice Handbooks focused on photonics outreach towards young people, entrepreneurs and the general public, respectively. The handbooks deliver short presentations of each of these tools and activities, including their objective, how they were developed or organised, their estimated impact, plus specific tips and recommendations for their replication in future outreach projects.

Project duration: 01/2015 – 12/2016
Countries: Austria, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden