• Status: Closed

  • Key features: Investment of up to £500,000 in innovative research and development projects centred on the emerging cluster of photonics, electro-optics, and opto-electronics businesses in North Wales.

  • Programme: Launchpad

  • Award: Up to £500,000

  • Opens: 22 Feb 2016, 00:00

  • Registration closes: No deadline

  • Closes: 06 Apr 2016, 12:00

  • Support phone number: 0300 321 4357

North Wales photonics Launchpad


Innovate UK is to invest up to £500,000 in innovative research and development projects centred on the emerging cluster of photonics, electro-optics, and opto-electronics businesses in North Wales.
The competition aims to stimulate this hotspot of photonics, electro-optics and opto-electronics businesses in North Wales by enabling companies to go further and/or faster towards commercial success. In collaboration with the Welsh Government and the Welsh Opto-Electronics Forum, we want to draw investment and people into the area, and to encourage networking and collaboration to strengthen the cluster.
We are therefore looking for projects that may be too risky for companies to take forward without any support, or that may take them into new innovative areas, and where the majority of the project activities are carried out in North Wales.
We will fund industrial research projects, with estimated project sizes ranging between £50,000 and £90,000. Projects can last up to 12 months and must be led by a micro, small or medium-sized company that we anticipate is likely to be in the early stages of its development; businesses can work alone or in collaboration. Micro and small businesses will receive up to 70% of eligible costs, medium-sized businesses 60%.
An integral part of Launchpad is the offer of support to help applicants to raise additional new external finance that we expect will be needed to fully fund the project and its subsequent commercialisation. In addition to receiving project funding, successful applicants will participate in a programme of business support and growth activities that will run in parallel to projects.
The competition opens for applicants on 22 February 2016. The deadline for video submissions is at noon on 6 April 2016.
A briefing event will be held at The OpTIC Centre in St Asaph on 11 February 2016.


We are seeking to fund projects based on photonics, electro-optics and opto-electronics technologies that have the potential to create new products and services. The end market applications can be broad, including optical communications, manufacturing and materials processing, health and life science, lighting, energy, security and safety. Projects should demonstrate significant innovation in relation to topics that may include, but are not limited to the following:
  • optical components
  • optical coatings
  • manufacture and measurement of high-surface-quality parts for optics and photonics
  • conventional and modern optics
  • anti-reflection thin films for optical and photovoltaic (PV) technologies
  • electrostatic discharge films for solar cells
  • solar cell thin films for different technologies or applications
  • transparent, conducting oxides, spanning all PV technologies
  • optical features in polymers and semiconductors and automotive/ medical (mainly micro-mould tools for injection moulding)
  • 3D printing of optically transparent glass and rapid prototyping of complete optical systems

Key dates

Competition opens   22 February 2016
Briefing event   11 February 2016
Deadline for video submissions  noon 6 April 2016
Deadline for invited written proposals  noon 8 June 2016
Business support programme  autumn 2016
Presentation to potential investors  autumn 2016

Supporting documents & links