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Photonics research in Finland

PREIN Flagship on Photonics Research and Innovation got a funding of 18,4 million euros for 72 doctoral education in 2024-2027

The Ministry of Education and Culture will allocate EUR 255 million to universities for piloting new practices in doctoral education in 2024–2027. This additional funding will be allocated to 1,000 doctoral researchers who will have a three-year employment contract to complete their doctoral degree. PREIN will receive 18 360 000 euros to pilot its Innovative Doctoral Education Ecosystem for Photonics (I-DEEP) and graduate 72 doctoral researchers in the next 3 years.

The doctoral education pilots are part of the initiative to increase Finland’s research and development funding to 4% of the gross domestic product by 2030. In 2022, the Parliamentary R&D&I working group concluded in its final report that more than 2,000 doctoral graduates will be needed each year between 2024 and 2030 and the pilot program aims at responding directly to this need.

Over the past 12 years, Finland has emerged as a European leader in photonics research and development, holding the largest number of photonics companies per capita in Europe with a 2B€ turnover. The photonics industry in Finland is experiencing extremely rapid growth (see Fig. 1 for Facts and figures and also 2023 survey) and this growth further extends beyond direct metrics, with indirect impact estimated to be tenfold in other sectors.

At the forefront of Finland’s photonics landscape is the Flagship for Photonics Research and Innovation (PREIN,, a consortium between Tampere University, Aalto University, University of Eastern Finland and VTT Ltd, dedicated to light-based technologies. PREIN is a leading international photonics research hub committed to scientific breakthroughs addressing global challenges and fostering economic growth through technology transfer to industry.

The Innovative Doctoral Education Ecosystem for Photonics (I-DEEP) consortium positions itself as a transformative initiative that capitalizes on PREIN and Photonics Finland, the national photonics business organization (, to educate a new generation of doctoral students through innovative approaches that accelerate graduation time without compromising the quality of education.

I-DEEP transcends the boundaries of PREIN extending its reach to all universities engaged in relevant research activities in light-based technologies (University of Jyväskylä – UJY, University of Turku – UTU, University of Oulu – UO, and Åbo Akademi – ÅA), strengthening the national photonics ecosystem. The curriculum will be designed to evolve in tandem with the rapidly changing needs of the Photonics sector, ensuring that the doctoral students are adapted to the development of the field.

I-DEEP will start its recruitment campaign early in the spring with the first doctoral researchers starting in August 2024 and the rest in January 2025. Universities will work together to improve doctoral education and reinvent practices. The pilots will increase the mobility of doctoral graduates between universities, businesses, research institutes and other organizations, develop direction and guidance, and promote the employment of doctoral graduates in different sectors of the society.

More information on the doctoral recruitment process will be available in the coming weeks.

Facts and figures on Photonics Survey 2023