About

Riga Photonics Centre is an association registered under the laws of Latvia with Reg. 40008243048 as “Rīgas Fotonikas centrs” (RFC) on 2 October 2015. The founders are individuals involved with the Framework 7 Regpot project FOTONIKA-LV that was funded by the EU Commission at €3.8 million from o1.02.2012 to 31.07.2015 to “Unlock and Boost Research Potential for Photonics in Latvia.”  The vision of the founders was that RFC would continue the outreach and coordination work involving photonics research, SMEs and the public that had been underway during the FOTONIKA-LV project.

RFC was granted the status of a not-for-profit charitable organization under the laws of Latvia on 05 June 2017 with a charitable purpose to advance science in Latvia. Donations to RFC are tax-deductible. RFC can also receive grants from EU and national funds to execute projects that fulfill its charter to advance science in Latvia and to boost  photonics research, development, manufacturing, and use in Latvia.

There is an emerging photonics cluster in Latvia with over 30 SMEs and over ten research institutes and organizations heavily involved in photonics research and development with a credible potential to achieve turnover in excess of one billion euros by 2030 through effective implementation of the Latvia’s Smart Specialization Strategy recognizing the role of photonics as a Key Enabling Technology.

RFC members can include research organizations, firms, educational institutions, professional organizations, government functions and individuals involved with photonics in Latvia. Thus far all members of RFC are individuals.

Photonics can be defined as the study and practice of controlling photons to meet human needs.  Photons are quanta of light.   As such photonics is involved in all devices that use light across the full spectrum including optical devices, lasers, fiber optics, spectroscopy, telescopes, microscopes and numerous other technologies and devices.   Photonics is involved in research as well as in manufacturing as well as in everyday devices such as mobile telephones.  Photonics is key to Digital Europe and the Internet of Things, G5 and smart cities.  Photonics frames fields such as quantum sciences, space sciences and related technologies and is an important component of research conducted in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia comprising approximately 45% of research output in peer reviewed journals from the three Baltic Sea states.

Latvia photonics and smart specialization

In 2018  the manufacturers in the photonics cluster had a turnover of €205 million. At the 15% growth rate of the cluster from 2011 to 2018 by 2025 turnover could be over €500 million.

Photonics research in Latvia is fragmented among multiple research organizations with no strategic direction or coordination. As a result, despite impressive capabilities the economic impact of the research is modest compared to what it could be if the photonics cluster were effectively coordinated.

Latvia Smart specialization themes Role of photonics
Smart Energy Photonics based sensors, photovoltaic systems, optical fibers are key elements of smart energy systems
Advanced ICT Optical computers, quantum computers, optical data storage, fiber optic-based data communications play a major role in advanced ICT
Knowledge intensive bio- economy Advances are dependent on photonics devices and technologies including biosensors, satellite remote sensing, GPS signals for smart farming, and numerous other applications of photonics
Biomedicine. medical technologies and biotechnology Biophotonics is becoming increasingly important in endoscopy and other medical applications, photonics based biosensors are   critical in numerous application in biotechnology.
Smart materials, technology and engineering Latvia excels in the production of satellite laser ranging equipment, laser devices, novel lighting systems, astronomical equipment and other photonics devices.

The emerging photonics cluster of Latvia consists of academic research organizations in four universities (University of Latvia, Riga Technical University, Daugavpils University, and Ventspils University College). Additionally, there are research activities associated with the Academy of Sciences, as well as the Research Centre for Electronics and Optical Instrument Manufacturing (LEO), a “competence centre” that supports applied research on behalf of SMEs in the cluster some of which is executed through the academic research organizations. The Riga Photonics Centre has been formed with the vision to coordinate the emerging photonics cluster.

Historical development

Riga Photonics Centre was been formed as a not-for-profit association to continue the public outreach and cluster development services that were part of the FOTONIKA-LV Regpot 2011 Framework 7 project.   During the course of the Project nearly 100 colloquiums were conducted on various scientific and technical subjects, a series of seminars were conducted on intellectual property management and protection for SMEs and for researchers.   Additionally in depth training seminar was held in the TRIZ innovation acceleration methodology.   More about the results of the FOTONIKA-LV project can be found at https://fotonikalv.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/nsc-fotonika-capabilities-2015-07-16-final.docx

A poster summarizing FOTONIKA-LV progress can be downloaded by clicking here.Poster for exhibit-size-5

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