Horizon 2020 projects to create 3,500 high-tech jobs over next three years

A new survey has found that 100 Horizon 2020 photonics projects, established between 2014 and 2018, will directly create 3,500 high-tech jobs in Europe over the next three years.

The survey, conducted by photonic market research firm Tematys, showed that the projects are on track to create more than 1,500 new positions in big companies, and nearly 2,000 in SMEs.

This could be a conservative estimate, however, given that 80 per cent of the SMEs and only 40 per cent of the big companies interviewed have declared their intention to create jobs.

The new positions will include optical engineers, material scientists, physicists, electronic engineers, chemical engineers, IT & computer scientists, data scientists and specialists in quality and certification. The new jobs will also include positions for PhD students and post-doctorates, as well as roles in academic and technical skills.

Professor Roberta Ramponi, an executive board member of Photonics21 – the European photonics Public-Private Partnership (PPP) – said: ‘We are delighted to create more jobs in an exciting industry that is adding great value to the economic success of Europe. Part of the PPP’s long-term growth strategy is generating opportunities for smart, talented individuals, particularly in the fields of semiconductors and photonics.’

The European photonics industry currently employs over 300,000 people, and as of 2019 is estimated to be worth about €90 billion. In addition, the European photonics industry has considerable global leadership positions in sectors such as production technology, machine vision, digital infrastructure, optical components and medical technology.

From 2014 to 2018, the European Commission committed over €445 million to photonics projects in Horizon 2020, which are comprised of 1,017 participants, 275 of which are SMEs and 281 of which are big companies.

Published by Photonics21, the Tematys survey examined 100 photonics-based consortia involved in such projects.

In particular, the survey discovered that positions in R&D are most in-demand, with 80 per cent of respondents requiring researchers as a follow up to the project they were involved in.

‘Roles in quality control, safety, product management and marketing and sales are areas of opportunity for any photonics practitioners of the future,’ said Ramponi. ‘The survey also highlights areas with certain skill gaps: over 50 per cent of the project participants interviewed claim that training skills and curricula need to be established, enlarged or updated.’

In addition to the 3,500 new jobs, the projects resulted in the development of around 330 new systems that incorporate photonics.