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‘SMART’ joint venture awarded funding

A joint venture in laser technology between the University of St Andrews and Ferranti Photonics Ltd has been awarded funding by the Scottish Executive to take their ideas ‘out of labs and into the global marketplace’.

The company, PhotoSynergy Limited, has been presented a ‘SMART’ award, and a share of a record- breaking potential £9.5m funding package for 47 of Scotland’s most innovative firms.

At an awards ceremony in Glasgow, the company’s Managing Director, Donald Walker (also Business Development Manager of the University’s Photonics Innovation Centre) was officially presented with the 2002 SMART: SCOTLAND Award, a pledge of support by the Scottish Executive to companies at the cutting edge of the technologies that will shape the world in the 21st Century. The SMART Awards aim to fund the development of innovative and commercially viable products and processes.

PhotoSynergy Limited was established as a joint venture company in March last year. The business of PhotoSynergy is the development and commercial exploitation of solid-state lasers and associated equipment based upon technology originating within the Photonics Innovation Centre (PIC) of the University’s School of Physics and Astronomy. The University is an acknowledged world leader in the field of photonics and PhotoSynergy is considered an important potential route to bring the leading edge technology to market. This is ideally complemented by Ferranti Photonics’ experience in the development, manufacture and marketing of lasers and laser based products. The combination of the technical, manufacturing and marketing backing from the University and Ferranti provides the new company with an excellent platform from which to grow and develop profitably.

The company’s products (infrared and green lasers) have widespread applications in display and emergency safety lighting, in industrial uses such as printing and micro/nano scale engineering, in scientific applications such as velocimetry, inspection processes and spectroscopy and in medical applications such as diagnostic and therapeutic treatments. In addition to new markets there is a considerable potential for these new solid state laser products to replace older and less attractive gas-laser technologies as they are cheaper to make and will last longer.

Photosynergy was judged to be one of Scotland’s most innovative firms in the third round of the 2002 Awards and joins forty-six others selected over the year. The SMART awards are designed to help new and existing small businesses, with less than 50 employees, gain a competitive edge in the market by funding the development of innovative and commercially viable products and processes.

As part of the award, sixteen Round Three winners received a share of £720,000 to undertake technical feasibility studies and nearly £1.7m of further funding will be made available to take these novel ideas to pre- production prototype stage.

Donald Walker, Managing Director of PhotoSynergy said that he was ‘delighted’ to receive the award on behalf of the joint venture.

Speaking at the awards ceremony for the 2002 winners Enterprise Minister Jim Wallace said:

“This underlines the Scottish Executive’s commitment to continuing to provide a highly effective pipeline of support – to transform our brightest innovations into successful business opportunities.”

“The Executive’s recently announced Partnership for a Better Scotland placed economic growth as our top priority. It sets out a vision for a Scotland where enterprise can flourish. We must promote an entrepreneurial culture and recognise the need to support risk-taking as a means of growing the economy.

“Many of Scotland’s small firms are already competing successfully on a global basis by developing truly world-beating technology. We are proud of these achievements and I am confident that today’s SMART winners will have the potential to emulate their success.”

Weblinks:

http://www.st- andrews.ac.uk/institutes/pic/Projec ts/Project-Photosynergy.html http://www.st- and.ac.uk/institutes/pic

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS:

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT DONALD WALKER DIRECT ON 01334 463327.

NOTE TO PICTURE EDITORS:

A JPEG OF DONALD WALKER BEING PRESENTED WITH THE AWARD BY JIM WALLACE IS AVAILABLE – PLEASE CONTACT GAYLE COOK – DETAILS BELOW. TECHNICAL IMAGES OF THE LASER TECHNOLOGY IN ACTION ARE ALSO AVAILABLE.

Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of the University of St Andrews Contact Gayle Cook on 01334 467227, mobile 07900 050 103, or email gec3@st-andrews.ac.uk Ref: SMART award presentation 280703 View the latest University news at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk

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