There are currently no fewer than 18 academic institutions in the UK working on lighting-related technology. These are the foundations of lighting innovation and they are right on our doorstep. Li-Fi at Edinburgh University, circadian rhythms at Nuffield, phosphors at Brunel, OLEDs at St Andrews, streetlighting at Sheffield… the list goes on. Who knew that Strathclyde has its own Institute of Photonics?
There is little doubt that we are entering a period of exceptional change in our industry and I don’t just mean the switch from fluorescents to LEDs. The new semiconductor world we find ourselves in promises to lead us into the completely new territories of communications, health and who knows what else as these developments mature. It is therefore more important than ever that the UK industry connects with the wealth of research taking place under its nose.
“There is little doubt that we are entering a period of exceptional change in our industry”
To this end the LIA, as part of its commitment to the recently launched UK Lighting Sector Strategy developed in conjunction with government, is working with the Knowledge Transfer Network to encourage cross-fertilisation of ideas. An event is planned this autumn that will enable the academic world to showcase its work and for industry leaders to meet the innovators.
It is far better that the UK lighting industry has first dibs at adopting the best of these innovations than see them taken up by overseas companies and sold back to us. We are being presented with an opportunity to become a world-beating industry and who would have thought 10 years ago that that was a possibility?
Alasdair McRury is president of the Lighting Industry Association