secpho participates in CARLA, the hub for careers in photonics

Submitted by [email protected] on 31 March 2020


Photonics has proven to be an essential ingredient in our modern world. Due to its unique properties, light has emerged as a core element of daily products and technologies such as smartphones, laptops, the Internet, medical instruments, even telecommunications, to name a few. Considered a Key Enabling Technology (KET) for Europe’s future prosperity by the European Commission, it is calculated that 20-30% of the entire economy and 10% of the workforce in Europe is already linked to the field of photonic technologies. Nevertheless, shortage in skilled employees in Europe are hampering the growth prospects of companies as well as the continent’s economy.

Bearing this in mind, a consortium of 11 European partners -among them secpho-,  has launched CARLA, the European Photonics CAReer LAunch Path. Coordinated by ICFO, CARLA is a 2-year H2020 EU-funded project that will develop a training/educational program to encourage STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics) university students, PhD students and young postdocs to pursue their careers in photonics.

CARLA will build its camp program by working hand-in-hand with all its stakeholders, including industry, academia, entrepreneurs, policymakers, HR and training experts as well as potential targeted audiences, such as university students and young researchers. CARLA will identify their needs and solutions, and integrate them into a model for European photonics career camps. To this end, secpho has developed a creative methodology to design the 11 CARLA camps that will be held throughout Europe and create a reference model for future replication. In a final phase of the project, will be created a comprehensive handbook that seeks to facilitate replicating the original camp to different sites, maintaining its essence, style and excellence, creating a solid and robust CARLA brand. In addition, CARLA will also search to empower diversity through collaborations with international experts in the field and lessons given and learned during the project, a topic that will also be covered in the handbook. The CARLA camps will be directed to university students and young researchers from photonics and non-photonics fields. It will allow them to have a glimpse of the vast opportunities that the photonics careers landscape may offer and provide them with a roadmap for better employability. CARLA aims to boost the numbers of students and young researchers pursuing careers in photonics, to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship and to empower gender diversity.

During the kick-off of CARLA, that took place at ICFO installations, secpho has driven a manual thinking session to brainstorm about how the photonic career camps should be designed.

CARLA is an initiative carried out by ECOP (European Centres for Outreach in Photonics), a long-standing consortium of European research and innovation centres passionate about outreach in photonics. The CARLA consortium has gathered leading photonics organizations with large experience in the coordination of outreach activities directed to different audiences. The consortium includes the following partners: ICFO (Coordinator, Barcelona) Photonics Austria (PA – Weiz), Max Born Institute (MBI – Berlin), Politecnico di Milano (POLIMI – Milan), Institute d’Optique (IOTA – Paris), International Laser Centre (ILC – Bratislava), Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB – Brussel), Delft University of Technology (TUD – Delft), Photonics Sweden (PS – Kista), Southern European Cluster in Photonics and Optics (secpho – Barcelona) and SwissPhotonics (VSLP – Wollerau).

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