UK photonics companies reliant on EU funding may be affected by the Brexit. For the most part, however, the industry will be largely unaffected due to its international market structure.
In the mid-term, lobbying at the national level will become more important in the UK to ensure funding and competitiveness through innovation. The result of the UK’s referendum can be viewed as an opportunity for other cities such as Eindhoven, the Netherlands, Berlin, Germany, and Vilnius, Lithuania – all three are key photonics locations – to attract UK companies. More than 13% of photonics companies, according to a survey by the European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC), are considering branches on the continent.
Tim Stokes, managing director at Hamamatsu Photonics in Hertfordshire, UK, said: “Most companies have no clear idea what can be the full implications for their business, and it may take years to fully unravel whilst governments decide how to move forward to implement the separation.
“The market will be rocky for a couple of months but it will bounce back and business as usual will continue.”
The UK has invested significant time and resources influencing the European agenda. UK companies waiting to apply for funding may currently be limited to domestic support as opposed to support from the EU through either its research and innovation framework programme, Horizon 2020, or others.
Carlos Lee, director-general of EPIC, said: “As long as the UK remains an important market for the photonics industry, companies will make efforts to supply the market. Therefore, we must hope that key markets, such as medical, aeronautics, oil and gas, will remain strong in the UK.”
The survey can be accessed here.