Professor Kemp's work will contribute to keeping the UK at the forefront of the global race for innovation in photonics, a technology related to the transmission and manipulation of light such as lasers and fibre optic cables. Photonics is a sector currently worth an annual £10bn in the UK and £250bn globally.

The collaboration between the University of Strathclyde, the Academy and Fraunhofer UK aims to ensure that photonics research will fulfill industrial needs and result in new applications, increasing its potential for commercial success. To this end, last year Fraunhofer UK established the Centre for Applied Photonics (CAP), a hub of excellence in photonics research at Strathclyde, which also hosts their UK headquarters.

The appointment of Professor Kemp is the first research chair funded in the country by Fraunhofer UK, a branch of the biggest applied R&D organisation in Europe. It is jointly funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering, which currently supports over 30 research chairs with industry and more than 100 enterprise and research fellowships, to enable and encourage technology transfers and excellence in research.

The new chair will also allow Professor Kemp to expand the 'Advanced Laser Group' at Strathclyde's Institute of Photonics and lead activity into novel areas such as the use of diamond in solid-state laser engineering and the development of compact ultra-short-pulse lasers for applications including biological imaging.

Professor Kemp, who has been a team leader at the University of Strathclyde's Institute of Photonics since 2009, said: "Lasers are an enabling technology - from advanced manufacturing, through biological imaging and to remote sensing. The new Centre for Applied Photonics will enhance the UK's industrial and academic leadership in this area by strengthening the interaction between universities and companies, making this an exciting time for the field. I am grateful for the opportunity this post will give me to work with our industrial partners, our academic partners, and with Fraunhofer UK, to help drive the development of new laser technology."

Professor Martin Dawson, Head of Fraunhofer UK's CAP and Director of Research at the University of Strathclyde's Institute of Photonics, said: "Alan Kemp is a noted researcher who is performing internationally leading work in solid state laser engineering, especially involving the use of synthetic diamond. This new chair offers Alan a much-deserved opportunity to maximise the impact of his research for UK industrial benefit and to interface closely to Fraunhofer UK. We sincerely thank the Royal Academy of Engineering for supporting the creation of this chair".

Sir John Parker GBE FREng, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering said: "The establishment of this new chair reflects the Academy's strong commitment to support world-class research to drive innovation.

"The appointment of Professor Kemp as the first joint Fraunhofer/Royal Academy of Engineering research chair in the UK further deepens the connections between British academia and the industrial world. These links are vital to support engineering driving economic growth and the nation's well-being.

"The Academy wishes Professor Kemp all success in his new position."

Notes for editors

  1. Royal Academy of Engineering. As the UK's national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering. We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK's role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK's world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook. We have four strategic challenges: Drive faster and more balanced economic growth; foster better education and skills; lead the profession; promote engineering at the heart of society.
  2. The University of Strathclyde is a leading international technological university which is recognised for strong research links with business and industry, commitment to enterprise and skills development, and knowledge sharing with the private and public sectors. The University was named UK University of the Year in the 2012 Times Higher Education (THE) Awards. In the 2013 THE Awards, the University was named Entrepreneurial University of the Year.
  3. Fraunhofer UK. Fraunhofer UK is a subsidiary of the Fraunhofer Society, Europe's biggest applied research organisation. Through partnerships with universities and industry they will ensure the UK's best research is developed to a stage where it can readily be adopted by industry, generating the commercial success that fuels growth and keeping the UK at the forefront of the global race for innovation. Fraunhofer UK bridges the gap between university research and industry, trains PhD students to be more business-ready, and acts as a long term R&D partner to UK companies allowing them to focus on near-term marketing and production, and provide a gateway to the best technical expertise in Europe, USA, and Asia.
  4. The Fraunhofer Society has more than 22,000 employees in 66 Fraunhofer Institutes in Germany alone and has established research centres throughout Europe and America. Fraunhofer research has formed the basis of a wide range of technologies for industry and products in everyday use, such as the MP3 player and apps for mobile phones, including customised weather reports and music identification systems like the iPhone app, Shazam.
  5. Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (Fraunhofer Society) was founded in 1949 and is now the largest application (business)-oriented research organisation in Europe undertaking applied research of direct use to private and public enterprise and of wide benefit to society. Fraunhofer institutes provide professional R&D services to industry, demand-driven research, combined with scientific excellence and training, strong integration with academia.
  6. Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics. The establishment of the first Fraunhofer Research Centre in the UK was a collaboration between the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Funding Council, the University of Strathclyde and Fraunhofer Gesellschaft and Fraunhofer IAF in Freiburg. It was created with funding from Germany-based Fraunhofer, the University of Strathclyde, the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Funding Council.

For more information please contact:

Giorgio De Faveri at the Royal Academy of Engineering 
Tel: 020 7766 0655
Email: Giorgio De Faveri

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