Vector Photonics was pleased to welcome Carol Monaghan, MP for Glasgow Northwest, to its Glasgow HQ this week. Carol set up the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Photonics and Quantum and is its current chair, raising awareness of photonics in Westminster. Carol also chairs the House of Commons’ Science and Technology Select Committee, addressing people and skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in the UK.
Neil Martin, CEO of Vector Photonics said, “It was a pleasure to welcome Carol to our site. She is an ambassador of the photonics industry and firm advocate of gender equality in engineering. We used the occasion to draw attention to some key opportunities and challenges the industry currently faces.
“Firstly, Scotland is unique in having a complete prototype, laser supply chain for photonics, with separate companies providing every part of the semiconductor laser manufacturing process. Government funding has been crucial for these companies, facilitating high-risk, new technology development and leveraging private equity investment. However, further strategic investment by government now could see alpha and beta supply chains in Scotland, cementing the region as a world leader and centre of excellence for photonics.
“Secondly, all these companies need a pipeline of high-calibre engineers to recruit. If government better addressed gender, ethnicity, and diversity in schools, through STEM and in industry, through organisations like ‘Opening up Photonics’ (OUP), the talent pool could be immediately increased.”
Carol is undoubtedly the ideal politician to raise awareness and help address obstacles faced by photonics in Scotland and the UK.