The University of Southampton

Government-sponsored audit highlights the Optoelectronics Research Centre’s role in driving the UK’s digital economy

Published: 22 September 2017
Southampton's expertise in photonics is highlighted in the Innovation South audit

A new government-sponsored Science and Innovation Audit (SIA) has revealed that the South of England – Innovation South - is the backbone of the UK’s digital economy with the University of Southampton at the heart of the initiatives highlighted by the report, including Photonics.

Innovation South covers eight counties across southern England, with a total economic output of £225.3 billion and accounting for 13.7% of the UK’s economic output. The Innovation South report, released by the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), presents evidence to illustrate the many ways in which the region is at the forefront of advances in digital innovations across a wide range of industrial sectors that can transform and improve our daily lives – such as the fibre optic networks that enabled rapid expansion of the internet.

As well as Photonics, the SIA demonstrates that Innovation South stands out in the UK for its expertise in 5G, Cyber Security, Big Data and Quantum. The result is a high growth, high value and a highly successful knowledge-based regional economy, with outstanding potential for further innovation and growth - if all assets are successfully integrated. The audit recommends that sustaining the success of Innovation South, and driving its innovation-led productivity even further, is critical to the success of the UK’s digital economy and the nation’s competitiveness in global markets.

The report specifically refers to how the ORC has “…revolutionised many areas including communications, medicine, aerospace and manufacturing. Fibre optic networks and developments in photonics will underpin all future communications, data and internet services.”

The report also refers to the ORC’s numerous industry partners and a cluster of spin-out companies in the region which have their origins in the ORC. These spin-out companies include Covesion, Fianium, Fibercore, Sensa, SPI Lasers and Stratophase.

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