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Cluster Report Photonics in the Capital Region Berlin-Brandenburg

  • Text
  • Imaging
  • Photonics
  • Berlin
  • Optical
  • Laser
  • Technologies
  • Optics
  • Microsystems
  • Components
  • Brandenburg

1.3 Status

1.3 Status Report “Many regional companies have full order books” Interview with the photonics cluster spokesperson, Prof. Dr. Günther Tränkle The global economic crisis is now regarded as overcome; especially in Germany developments are very positive. How do you assess the current situation of optical technologies in Germany and especially in the capital region? The last major trade fairs, the Photonics West in January in San Francisco and the Laser Munich in May, confirmed the positive assessment. The large crowds at the booths - the companies of the capital region are usually disproportionately well represented - show the upswing in the industry. Many companies have full order books and their sales reach or exceed pre-crisis levels in 2010/2011. The large number of inquiries within a wide range of applications promises a good basis for the next few years. The job offers by companies also speak for the upturn. Another reason is probably also the fact that the German photonics industry holds a leading position in international competition and emerges stronger from the crisis: Many companies have used this time for intensive R & D work; the rather continuous and consistent focusing of grants is paying off. Optics/photonics as a key technology is anchored to the high-tech strategy of Germany, and has also received an appropriate role in our region. Optical technologies are being developed and produced mainly in Europe, China, USA and Japan. For the future, where do you see the respective priorities and competence fields among the nations? In which sectors of research, development and production can Berlin- Brandenburg demonstrate particular strengths? One cannot restrict such large economies or regions to certain areas of expertise or emphasis, they are active in all major disciplines of photonics. We observe that all industrialized countries undertake great efforts to develop optical technologies. Europe is particularly active - even in terms of competition with North America and Asia, where it is mainly Japan, China and South Korea. It is clear that Germany is an international leader in laser technology and especially in applications for material processing and production technology. Many partners within Germany contribute to this good positioning, especially in the capital region which can draw on the combined know-how of universities, other research institutions and companies. What is the demand from the emerging economies of China, India and Brazil for developments and products from Berlin-Brandenburg? Among emerging markets, currently only China intensively buys products from Berlin-Brandenburg and cooperates with regional companies. One should keep an eye on the two emerging nations India and Brazil, especially India. A goal for us could be, perhaps together with Berlin Partner, to improve our knowledge of those markets and then specifically address promising market segments for our companies. What new topics and projects are of particular future importance for the capital region, and can they be a beacon for the local industry? As an enabling technology, photonics plays a central role in the development of many future technical solutions. For the capital region, this means to further pool and develop existing regional expertise and scientific know-how, for example, to refine the new possibilities of lighting technology. Photovoltaics as a subdiscipline of optical technologies, is well represented in the region. Laser machining processes or optical measuring and analyzing processes improve manufacturing processes and quality. The healthcare industry is also of central importance in Berlin. In addition to traditional medical applications, life of an aging population must be supported in the future. Ambient Assisted Living describes a variety of measures based on microsystems technology, communications technologies and optical sensors in order to maintain the quality of life, especially for the elderly. There is a political decision that Berlin and Brandenburg will develop optical technologies and microsystems technology into a cluster. What does this mean for the regional industry, for the cluster, and for the network OpTecBB? We very much welcome the decision, as it enhances the optical technologies and is associated with a focusing in the region. The importance transcends the cluster; after all, optics and photonics as key technologies have great potential for applications in other clusters of the joint innovation strategy of Berlin and Brandenburg (innoBB). Our task will be to actively develop them together with our partners in the TSB Technology Foundation Berlin and the regional business promoters, i.e. something OpTecBB has done since its inception. We will invest ourselves in both the strategic direction and the cluster management, and integrate our members and other players in the region. Which opportunities, requirements and tasks do you consider necessary to convert the extensive German expertise in research and development into more sustainable manufacturing jobs? We are already well on the way, by putting emphasis on the close cooperation between academia and industry. We make sure that basic discoveries or further developments are incorporated into industrial applications as soon as possible. We need to intensify such cooperation and bring relevant research projects on the way. This is the path to long-term innovation geared towards market 8

1.3 Status Report the high-tech training network ANH Berlin, we work to sustainably improve vocational, in-company training in high technology sectors since 2007. Through these diverse offerings, we are expecting to again fill young people with enthusiasm for our subject matters. We must always point out what we have to offer: great content and excellent career prospects. Wages in Berlin and Brandenburg are lower than in southern Germany. Does this gap prevent the influx of young academics, or can Berlin compensate with high quality of life at a moderate cost? The attractiveness of Berlin and the comparatively moderate cost of living weigh more for industrial jobs than for those in academia. For the latter, the public wage system provides only limited possibilities. Furthermore, many employees are funded by projects, and jobs are termed. This is a problem especially for young families and their planning for the future. If the south provides an appropriate perspective, a move is understandable. The interview was conducted by Markus Wabersky and Arild Eichbaum Since 1996, Günther Tränkle is director of the Ferdinand- Braun-Institute, Leibniz-Institute for Highest Frequency Technology (FBH) in Berlin Adlershof. Since 2002, he is also Professor at the Technical University of Berlin for the area of microwaves and optoelectronics. His current research interests are III / V semiconductor technology, micro- and millimeter-wave electronics as well as high power diode lasers. Günther Tränkle is co-founder of five high-technology companies, Chairman of the Competence Network OpTec-Berlin- Brandenburg (OpTecBB), a member of acatech, and Representative of the Leibniz Association for Technology Transfer. © Photo: FBH/M. Schönenberger requirements and ensuring the competitiveness and high quality of German industrial jobs. As head of a prestigious institution, you need qualified and competent staff. What actions are necessary in order to meet the demand for skilled personnel in the future? This requires a long-term strategy in which children across all ages have access to scientific and technical content as early as possible. This begins with early childhood, playful promotion in nursery schools and continues with collaborations at schools and universities, done extensively at the FBH. Through school partnerships, student laboratories and other extracurricular learning opportunities, scientific institutions can raise interest in scientific careers and help with career guidance. Important additions are events such as the Girls' Day, the Long Night of Sciences or the recently organized girls-technology conference for STEM jobs. As a non-university institute, we also cooperate closely with universities. Thus students have the opportunity to gain work experience as student assistants, often followed later by bachelor, master and doctoral theses. We are also active in the field of vocational education and training. Within 9

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