Photonics holds tremendous potential to enable disruptive product innovation and market success. More than 5000 companies in Europe, mainly SME’s, are involved in photonics-related industrial activities. However, many of these companies experience substantial barriers and roadblocks in trying to fully exploit the potential of photonics as the dedicated technologies and expertise are not always accessible or available.

ACTPHAST is a European centre that has emerged from the successful EU-funded project ACTMOST (see ). The strategic mission of ACTPHAST is to considerably lower and even remove the photonics innovation barriers for SMEs which will enable start-ups and established companies to more easily and rapidly adopt and deploy photonics technologies in innovative products, helping to “cross the chasm” of new product development and accelerate time-to-market, and as such significantly stimulate company growth both in terms of market share and employment. As a unique single-source solutions provider, ACTPHAST provides access to photonics innovation support driven by the business needs of European companies. The access centre to photonics experts and infrastructure will be created by co-ordinating and integrating the resources of more than 20 advanced facilities in Europe that have a proven track-record in collaborative photonics development and innovation with European industry.

To lower the innovation barrier for companies even more, a subsidy model is installed to financially support or fully cover the costs of the industrial support activities with funding from the EC. As a result, in the case of SMEs, the costs can be completely waived for the innovation and co-development support that they receive. For Large Scale Companies these costs can be waived up to 50%.