Photonics21, the European Technology Platform, proposes a coordinated action plan at the European level to explore the future applications of light and to reap the expected benefits in terms of creating both jobs and wealth.

Fotónica21, the Spanish Photonics Technology Platform, local mirror of the Photonics21 European Platform, aims at efficiently coordinating industrial innovation in photonics and its applications.

The Nanophotonics Europe Association was established in October 2009, to promote nanophotonics research and development in Europe and to forge partnerships between academia and industry.

Biophotonics.World platform was initiated by the worldwide consortium Biophotonics4Life and is now operated by Leibniz Institute of PhotonicTechnology in Jena, Germany. This platform is a central access point for latest news and articles about recent scientific developments in academia and industry for the worldwide biophotonics community. It also provides up-to-date information on upcoming workshops and conferences, and is a networking platform connecting researchers and end users, who can share and discuss important findings, establish new contacts, find cooperation partners and discover organizations, publishers and companies in the field.

ETP Nanomedicine is a European Technology Platform led by industry and set up together with the European Commission to address the application of nanotechnology to achieve breakthroughs in healthcare.

The NanoMedicine Platform of Spain aims to bring together the most important Spanish researchers, industries and administrations, in order to promote a common strategy in such a multidisciplinary field as nanomedicine.

EPIC, the European Photonics Industry Consortium, is working with industries, universities, and the European Commission to build a more competitive photonics industrial sector.

AEBALL/UPMBALL are organizations that bring together over 3,000 companies, over 48,000 jobs and are located in L'Hospitalet and Baix Llobregat, an area in constant economic growth.

SECPhO is a business oriented cluster initiative for the optics and photonics sector, bringing together Large Enterprises SMEs, and research centers in the region.

LaserLab Europe

Involving 26 Laser Research Infrastructures from 16 European member states, Laser Lab Europe is The Integrated Initiative of European Laser Research Infrastructures. Given the importance of lasers and their applications in all areas of sciences, life sciences and technologies, the main objectives of the Consortium are:

  • To form a competitive, inter-disciplinary network of European national laser laboratories
  • To strengthen the European leading role in laser research through Joint Research Activities, pushing the laser concept into new directions and opening up new applications of key importance
  • To engage in the Transnational Access Programme in a co-ordinated fashion for the benefit of the European research community, providing about 1100 days of access per year for European researchers
  • To increase the European basis in laser research and applications by reaching out to neighboring scientific communities and by assisting the development of Laser Research Infrastructures on both the national and the European level.



CORBEL — Coordinated Research Infrastructures Building Enduring Life-science services — is an EC Horizon2020 project uniting 11 Biological and Medical Science Research Infrastructures (RIs). ICFO participates in this infrastructure through the SLN@BCN node. In CORBEL, the participating RIs expand their cooperation in order to harmonise researchers’ access to their cutting-edge technologies and services. By establishing a sustainable platform of aligned services, CORBEL will enable faster admission to and a wider portfolio of technologies and services to boost research projects.


The European Research Infrastructure for Imaging Technologies in Biological and Biomedical Sciences (EuBI) provides open physical user access to a broad range of state-of-the-art technologies in biological and biomedical imaging for life scientists. In addition, it will offer image data support and training for infrastructure users and providers.

The EuBI consists of a set of 29 geographically distributed Node Candidates (specialised imaging facilities) that can grant access to scientists from all European countries and beyond. Currently, researchers can apply to use some of 36 imaging technologies offered through Euro-BioImaging.

ICFO participates in this infrastructure through the Super Resolution Node Barcelona located both at ICFO and at CRG and through the Mesoscopic Imaging Node Barcelona located at CRG, IRBB and ICFO.


Access CenTer for PHotonics innovAtion Solutions and Technology Support (ACTPHAST) is a unique “one-stop-shop” for supporting photonics innovation by European companies (supported by the European Commission under the FP7 framework- Grant Agreement No. 619205).  It 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 Partners), enabling companies to exploit the tremendous commercial potential of applied photonics. ICFO is one of 23 research institutes who together make up the ACTPHAST Partners.

While designed to provide open access to photonics innovation support for all European companies who meet the eligibility criteria, the ACTPHAST program 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.

Video Presentation


ImageInLife is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN funded by the European Commission Horizon2020 programme that addresses the challenge of understanding how cells behave to build organisms as complex as vertebrates. The project will run for 4 years from January 2017. It brings together leading European research groups in the field and partners from companies that aim to commercialise corresponding tools.

The main objectives of this ITN are to use the vertebrate embryo as a model to develop new tools to image vertebrate organismes and to train future bio-imagers through research, exposing them to the richest environment to foster a successful career.

Systems Microscopy

The Systems Microscopy Network of Excellence (NoE) (2011-2015) was a life science project spearheading a key enabling methodology based on live cell imaging for the development of next-generation systems biology. The project was funded under the 7th Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Union.

The multidisciplinary consortium joined 15 research groups spread over the whole of Europe and was coordinated from Karolinska Institutet. The project was launched 1 January 2011 and ran until the end of 2015. During the course of the project, the network furthered tools and strategies to make available to the wider research community, a new approach to the systems biology of the living cell.

NanoPhotonics for Energy Efficiency

The NanoPhotonics for Energy Efficiency Network of Excellence (2010-2015) focused on re-orienting nanophotonics research towards the challenges in energy efficient applications. The network clustered nanophotonic laboratories and research groups of 9 different institutions in 6 European countries with complimentary expertise, integrating more than 130 scientists, engineers, technicians and managers in nanophotonics.

The project focuses on:

  • Realising a strategy for successful integration: creation of new research community and a virtual laboratory network that will exist beyond the duration of this NoE;
  • Establishing joint research: foster collaborations among the leading groups in nanophotonics for energy efficiency, interchanging knowledge and best practices, and paving the way towards the establishment of common research agendas;
  • Spreading knowledge: specialised education and training in nanophotonics for energy, geared towards young researchers and technicians both from academia and industry, as well as dissemination towards the scientific community, industry, and the public in general.

Photonics for Life

As a Network of Excellence PHOTONICS4LIFE (2008-2012) gathered the human resources, the infrastructure, the capabilities, the expertise and knowledge of 13 top-research partners standing on the forefront in the field of Biophotonics research. All of these partners are from EC member states (10 different countries).

PHOTONICS4LIFE brought together partners to span across the value chain from photonic components to applications and from fundamental to applied research, while progressing on a single but broad theme: "Biophotonics".

PHOTONICS4LIFE targeted bridging the gap between different disciplines ranging from physics and chemistry via engineering to biology and medicine. Furthermore, the consortium linked the expertise of research institutes with SMEs and large companies in order to foster Biophotonics research and strengthen Europe’s economic competitiveness on the global Biophotonics market. Consequently, the network does not only focus on individual technological developments but also puts emphasis on the needs of the physician and patient.


Fundació Catalunya - La Pedrera · Ignacio Cirac Program Chair at ICFO



Fundació Catalunya - La Pedrera and ICFO, both true to their mission in pursuing excellence and developing talent at all levels, established this program chair at ICFO with the intention of promoting world-class research, outreach and dissemination in the targeted area of quantum information science and technology, as well as to promote frontier research at large.

Professor Ignacio Cirac, Director of the Theory Division of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics at Garching, Germany, is a Distinguished Invited Professor at ICFO. He is the recipient of the 2006 Prince of Asturias Award, the 2007 Blas Cabrera National Physics Award, the 2008 BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award, the 2009 Carl Zeiss Research Award and the 2010 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics, to name a few prizes. He is one of the world leaders in quantum physics, having contributed fundamental advances in the field of Quantum Information Science.

The Ignacio Cirac Program Chair is implemented in collaboration with several ICFO groups, with special emphasis on the Quantum Information Theory group, led by Prof. Antonio Acín, and the Quantum Optics Theory group, led by Prof. Maciej Lewenstein.

The program chair is funded by an endowment from Fundació Catalunya – La Pedrera and was established under the auspices of the Department of Economy and Finance, Regional Government of Catalonia.



The Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Flagship initiative is a program of research excellence bringing together an academic and industrial consortium which aims to facilitate breakthroughs for technological innovation and stimulate economic growth and improvements for society as a whole. GRAPHENE has been named one of two Flagship initiatives which will receive about €54 million each from the European Commission's ICT 2013 Work program during their first 30 months. Follow up funding will come from the Horizon 2020 programme. The European Commission is committed to securing about 50% of the €1 billion funding from the EU research budget, with the rest of the funding coming from a number of sources, including contributions from the partners themselves, plus Member States and industry funding, as well as in-kind contributions such as infrastructures, computing resources, etc.

Prof. Frank Koppens, group leader at ICFO of the Nano-Optoelectronics group and Co-leader of the Flagship Optoelectronics Work Package.

The Graphene Flagship brings together the most recognized figures in graphene research in Europe as well as industrial partners including large companies such as Nokia, Airbus, Philips and ST Microelectronics as well as SME's such as Graphenea. The goal of all partners is to capitalize on graphene's unique and superior properties to create a credible starting point for new disruptive technologies in a wide range of fields.

Research work in the Graphene Flagship is divided into 11 scientific and technological work packages. ICFO Professor and Nest Fellow Frank Koppens will have a special leadership role in the Optoelectronics work package, in collaboration with Prof. Andrea Ferrari (Cambridge, UK). This Optoelectronics group aims to establish a new field of graphene photonics and optoelectronics, sustained by the convergence and co-integration of graphene-based electronic and photonic components such as lasers, optical switches and waveguides, optical frequency converters, amplifiers, cavities, modulators, photodetectors, nano-photonics components, metamaterials and solar cells.

During the 30 month ramp-up phase of the project, the Graphene Flagship will focus on the area of communications, concentrating on ICT and on the physical transport sector and supporting applications in the fields of energy technology and sensors. In addition to the leadership role of Prof. Koppens and the Optoelectronics work package, seven other ICFO research groups led by Professors Bachtold, Biegert, Chang, Konstantatos, Lewenstein, Martorell and Pruneri will contribute expertise to the Flagship with projects in graphene photonics.

More information:
Press Release (pdf)
List of particpants (pdf)
List of Scientific Work Packages (pdf)