ACTPHAST 4.0 supports and accelerates the innovation capacity of European companies by providing them with direct access to the expertise and state-of-the-art facilities of Europe's leading photonics research centres (the ACTPHAST 4.0 Partners), enabling companies to exploit the tremendous commercial potential of applied photonics. There are 24 research institutes who together make up the ACTPHAST 4.0 Partners.
Together the ACTPHAST 4.0 Partners provide a full spectrum of photonics technology platforms ranging from fibre optics and micro optics, to highly integrated photonic platforms (7 technology platforms in all), with capabilities extending from design through to full system prototyping.
ACTPHAST 4.0 operates as an open call to all European companies (big and small, but particularly targeted at SMEs) so they can avail of timely, cost-effective, and low risk photonics innovation support, and that the extensive range of capabilities within the consortium can impact across a wide range of industrial sectors and application domains, from communications to consumer-related products, and life sciences to industrial manufacturing.
The access to top-level experts and leading photonics technology platforms provided by the ACTPHAST 4.0 consortium is realized through focused innovation projects executed in relatively short timeframes (typically 6-9 months) with a critical mass of suitably qualified companies with high potential product concepts. The technical innovation support is supplemented by expert business and financial coaching supports to help ensure that the innovation activities are also commercially focused and primed for market success. ACTPHAST 4.0 is closely aligned with the Photonics Pilot Lines and Mass Manufacturing in Europe to seamlessly progress successful prototypes developed through the ACTPHAST 4.0 incubator all the way to large-scale production and market-ready products. In addition, ACTPHAST 4.0 includes Europe Unlimited as a 25th partner in the consortium who run the highly successful TechTour program around Europe each year to match venture capital with high potential start-ups and scale-ups in key technology areas. Together with this partner and in closely collaboration with Photonics21 and the Photonics PPP, ACTPHAST 4.0 will deliver the European Photonics Venture Forum (EPVF) once a year at key locations around Europe to help boost the level of new financial investment sources for photonics innovation by European companies.
As a result of its innovation support activities, ACTPHAST 4.0 is expected to deliver a substantial increase in the revenues and employment numbers of the supported companies by enabling faster time-to-market of new product opportunities and addressing emerging markets where photonics is a key enabling technology. Furthermore, through its extensive outreach activities, ACTPHAST 4.0 will ensure there is an increased level of awareness and understanding across European industries of the technical and commercial potential of photonics, especially amongst first users and "non-photonics" end user industries.
ACTPHAST 4.0 is particularly suited to the needs of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who do not have the financial resources to invest in in-house R&D expertise and state-of-the-art technologies, nor to undertake risky innovation projects. ACTPHAST 4.0 support is heavily subsidized for projects undertaken with SMEs (100% subsidy for the first 30K€ of costs for an innovation project and 75% subsidy for all project costs over 30K€ including follow-on projects with the same company. For large-scale companies, the subsidy is 50% on all project costs).
ACTPHAST 4.0 is designed to provide open access to photonics innovation support for all European companies who meet the eligibility criteria, and we have strict governance structures and systems in place around the key persons responsible for running the program to ensure that ACTPHAST 4.0 remains true to its mission and mandate, and that all decisions are open, transparent and properly accounted for.