The Barcelona Medical Photonics Network has as its mission the promotion of research and development activities in photonics being carried out in the Barcelona region through long-standing collaborations between ICFO and its biomedical and clinical partners. Its main joint endeavors span initiatives in the disciplines of: neurology and neurosurgery, neonatal care, ophthalmology, oncology, intensive care monitoring, dermatology, rapid clinical analysis, rehabilitation, sports medicine, wellbeing, sleep disorders and anesthesiology, among others.

The ICFO-SJD Joint Lab is a joint initiative between Institut de Recerca Sant Joan de Déu and ICFO whose mission is to improve neonatal and pediatric healthcare and ultimately have a positive impact on children's well-being. Interdisciplinary research activities aim at boosting the development and application of photonic technologies as innovative solutions for the care of the neonatal and pediatric population.

AEBALL/UPMBALLare organizations that bring together over 3,000 companies, over 48,000 jobs and are located in L'Hospitalet and Baix Llobregat, an area in constant economic growth.

Biophotonics.World platformwas initiated by the worldwide consortium Biophotonics4Life and is now operated by Leibniz Institute of PhotonicTechnology in Jena, Germany. This platform is a central access point for latest news and articles about recent scientific developments in academia and industry for the worldwide biophotonics community. It also provides up-to-date information on upcoming workshops and conferences, and is a networking platform connecting researchers and end users, who can share and discuss important findings, establish new contacts, find cooperation partners and discover organizations, publishers and companies in the field.

EPIC, the European Photonics Industry Consortium, is working with industries, universities, and the European Commission to build a more competitive photonics industrial sector.

ETP Nanomedicineis a European Technology Platform led by industry and set up together with the European Commission to address the application of nanotechnology to achieve breakthroughs in healthcare.

Sunergy, aims at becoming a large European Research and Innovation initiative working towards the conversion and storage of renewable energy into fossil-free fuels and chemicals. The current enterprise unites and builds on two initiatives funded under Horizon 2020: SUNRISE and ENERGY-X which were selected by the European Commission to prepare for FET Flagship status.

The European Clean Hydrogen Alliance, aims at an ambitious deployment of hydrogen technologies by 2030, bringing together renewable and low-carbon hydrogen production, demand in industry, mobility and other sectors, and hydrogen transmission and distribution. With the alliance, the EU wants to build its global leadership in this domain, to support the EU’s commitment to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

Fotónica21, the Spanish Photonics Technology Platform, local mirror of the Photonics21 European Platform, aims at efficiently coordinating industrial innovation in photonics and its applications.

The NanoMedicine Platformof Spain aims to bring together the most important Spanish researchers, industries and administrations, in order to promote a common strategy in such a multidisciplinary field as nanomedicine.

Photonics21, the European Technology Platform, proposes a coordinated action plan at the European level to explore the future applications of light and to reap the expected benefits in terms of creating both jobs and wealth.

SECPhOis a business oriented cluster initiative for the optics and photonics sector, bringing together Large Enterprises SMEs, and research centers in the region.


The main aim of the Paediatric Innovation Hub (Hub en Innovació Pediàtrica, HIP) is to promote knowledge valorisation and transfer in order to offer solutions designed, developed and tested with and for children and with the involvement of R+D+I centres, hospitals, universities, companies, patients and families, investors and regulatory authorities.

The HIP is made up of groups from different institutions throughout Catalonia. It also has affiliated entities made up of stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem in Catalonia, such as companies, investment funds, systems agents and patient associations and representatives.

RIS3CAT- Emergent Technologies Clusters

ICFO will coordinate The Quantum Technologies Hub of Catalonia (QuantumCAT 001-P-001644) and will participate in The Graphene Community of Catalonia (GraphCat 001-P001702) and in The Emerging Cluster of the Human Brain (CECH 001-P-001682), three of the nine projects approved in the emerging technologies program of the Research and Innovation Strategy for the Smart Specialization of Catalonia (RIS3CAT). This program aims to orient the productive sector of the Catalan economy toward a smarter, more sustainable and integrated economic model.

These projects are co-financed by the European Union Regional Development Fund within the framework of the ERDF Operational Program of Catalonia 2014-2020 with a grant of 50% of total eligible costs, with the support of the Secretaria d'Universitats i Recerca of the Department d'Empresa i Coneixement of the Generalitat de Catalunya.

LaserLab Europe

Involving 26 Laser Research Infrastructures from 16 European member states, Laser Lab Europe is The Integrated Initiative of European Laser Research Infrastructures. Given the importance of lasers and their applications in all areas of sciences, life sciences and technologies, the main objectives of the Consortium are:

  • To form a competitive, inter-disciplinary network of European national laser laboratories
  • To strengthen the European leading role in laser research through Joint Research Activities, pushing the laser concept into new directions and opening up new applications of key importance
  • To engage in the Transnational Access Programme in a co-ordinated fashion for the benefit of the European research community, providing about 1100 days of access per year for European researchers
  • To increase the European basis in laser research and applications by reaching out to neighboring scientific communities and by assisting the development of Laser Research Infrastructures on both the national and the European level.



CORBEL — Coordinated Research Infrastructures Building Enduring Life-science services — is an EC Horizon2020 project uniting 11 Biological and Medical Science Research Infrastructures (RIs). ICFO participates in this infrastructure through the SLN@BCN node. In CORBEL, the participating RIs expand their cooperation in order to harmonise researchers’ access to their cutting-edge technologies and services. By establishing a sustainable platform of aligned services, CORBEL will enable faster admission to and a wider portfolio of technologies and services to boost research projects.


The European Research Infrastructure for Imaging Technologies in Biological and Biomedical Sciences (EuBI) provides open physical user access to a broad range of state-of-the-art technologies in biological and biomedical imaging for life scientists. In addition, it will offer image data support and training for infrastructure users and providers.

The EuBI consists of a set of 29 geographically distributed Node Candidates (specialised imaging facilities) that can grant access to scientists from all European countries and beyond. Currently, researchers can apply to use some of 36 imaging technologies offered through Euro-BioImaging.

ICFO participates in this infrastructure through the Super Resolution Node Barcelona located both at ICFO and at CRG and through the Mesoscopic Imaging Node Barcelona located at CRG, IRBB and ICFO.


Access CenTer for PHotonics innovAtion Solutions and Technology Support (ACTPHAST) is a unique “one-stop-shop” for supporting photonics innovation by European companies (supported by the European Commission under the FP7 framework- Grant Agreement No. 619205).  It supports and accelerates the innovation capacity of European companies by providing them with direct access to the expertise and state-of-the-art facilities of Europe‘s leading photonics research centres (the ACTPHAST Partners), enabling companies to exploit the tremendous commercial potential of applied photonics. ICFO is one of 23 research institutes who together make up the ACTPHAST Partners.

While designed to provide open access to photonics innovation support for all European companies who meet the eligibility criteria, the ACTPHAST program is particularly suited to the needs of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who do not have the financial resources to invest in in-house R&D expertise and state-of-the-art technologies, nor to undertake risky innovation projects.

Video Presentation


ImageInLife is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN funded by the European Commission Horizon2020 programme that addresses the challenge of understanding how cells behave to build organisms as complex as vertebrates. The project will run for 4 years from January 2017. It brings together leading European research groups in the field and partners from companies that aim to commercialise corresponding tools.

The main objectives of this ITN are to use the vertebrate embryo as a model to develop new tools to image vertebrate organismes and to train future bio-imagers through research, exposing them to the richest environment to foster a successful career.

Systems Microscopy

The Systems Microscopy Network of Excellence (NoE) (2011-2015) was a life science project spearheading a key enabling methodology based on live cell imaging for the development of next-generation systems biology. The project was funded under the 7th Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Union.

The multidisciplinary consortium joined 15 research groups spread over the whole of Europe and was coordinated from Karolinska Institutet. The project was launched 1 January 2011 and ran until the end of 2015. During the course of the project, the network furthered tools and strategies to make available to the wider research community, a new approach to the systems biology of the living cell.

NanoPhotonics for Energy Efficiency

The NanoPhotonics for Energy Efficiency Network of Excellence (2010-2015) focused on re-orienting nanophotonics research towards the challenges in energy efficient applications. The network clustered nanophotonic laboratories and research groups of 9 different institutions in 6 European countries with complimentary expertise, integrating more than 130 scientists, engineers, technicians and managers in nanophotonics.

The project focuses on:

  • Realising a strategy for successful integration: creation of new research community and a virtual laboratory network that will exist beyond the duration of this NoE;
  • Establishing joint research: foster collaborations among the leading groups in nanophotonics for energy efficiency, interchanging knowledge and best practices, and paving the way towards the establishment of common research agendas;
  • Spreading knowledge: specialised education and training in nanophotonics for energy, geared towards young researchers and technicians both from academia and industry, as well as dissemination towards the scientific community, industry, and the public in general.

Photonics for Life

As a Network of Excellence PHOTONICS4LIFE (2008-2012) gathered the human resources, the infrastructure, the capabilities, the expertise and knowledge of 13 top-research partners standing on the forefront in the field of Biophotonics research. All of these partners are from EC member states (10 different countries).

PHOTONICS4LIFE brought together partners to span across the value chain from photonic components to applications and from fundamental to applied research, while progressing on a single but broad theme: "Biophotonics".

PHOTONICS4LIFE targeted bridging the gap between different disciplines ranging from physics and chemistry via engineering to biology and medicine. Furthermore, the consortium linked the expertise of research institutes with SMEs and large companies in order to foster Biophotonics research and strengthen Europe’s economic competitiveness on the global Biophotonics market. Consequently, the network does not only focus on individual technological developments but also puts emphasis on the needs of the physician and patient.


SPIE@ICFO Chair for Diversity in the Photonic Sciences

In June 2020 SPIE, the International Society for Optics and Photonics, and ICFO formally announced the SPIE@ICFO Chair for Diversity in the Photonic Sciences in order to promote diversity and to support new talent in photonics to enhance innovation, creativity and excellence in research.

The Chair was established through the SPIE Endowment Matching Program, a five-year educational-funding initiative established in 2019, and designed to increase international capacity in the teaching and research of optics and photonics.

The award is the first of its kind in Europe and will support the appointment of a Chair at ICFO whose remit will be to leverage the center’s activities to further enhance its promotion of diversity, starting with its multiple programs supporting the education and careers of young women from diverse backgrounds with an interest in photonics. Some supported opportunities will include the SPIE@ICFO Chair Maria Yzuel Fellowship Awards; the SPIE@ICFO Chair Travel Fellowships; and the SPIE@ICFO Chair Research Internships.

AXA Research Fund Chair on Quantum Cryptography

In 2015, the AXA Research Fund awarded ICFO a Chair, which is both permanent and pioneering on a global scale, for a quantum information technology project that will focus on risks associated with data privacy. Through this chair, ICFO will conduct research focused on developing and implementing encryption systems based on quantum devices, with the aim of 100% secure data communications.

The AXA Research Fund was created in 2007 to boost scientific progress and discoveries that contribute to understanding and better preparing for environmental, life and socio-economic risks. With a commitment of EUR 200 million until 2018, the Fund supports 449 projects led by researchers of 50 nationalities, working in 230 universities in 32 countries.

Corning Inc. Chair

In June 2013, Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW), the world leader in specialty glass and ceramics, and ICFO formally announced and inaugurated the Corning Surfaces Laboratory, designed to host cutting-edge fabrication and characterization equipment, and the Corning Professorship, to conduct sponsored research projects of mutual interest.

In 2015, this multi-year agreement was renewed to extend through 2019. The Knowledge and Technology Transfer unit at ICFO and the University Collaborations department at Corning play a key role in maintaining and fostering this joint effort.

Fundació Catalunya - La Pedrera · Ignacio Cirac Program Chair at ICFO



Fundació Catalunya - La Pedrera and ICFO, both true to their mission in pursuing excellence and developing talent at all levels, established this program chair at ICFO with the intention of promoting world-class research, outreach and dissemination in the targeted area of quantum information science and technology, as well as to promote frontier research at large.

Professor Ignacio Cirac, Director of the Theory Division of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics at Garching, Germany, is a Distinguished Invited Professor at ICFO. He is the recipient of the 2006 Prince of Asturias Award, the 2007 Blas Cabrera National Physics Award, the 2008 BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award, the 2009 Carl Zeiss Research Award and the 2010 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics, to name a few prizes. He is one of the world leaders in quantum physics, having contributed fundamental advances in the field of Quantum Information Science.

The program chair is funded by an endowment from Fundació Catalunya – La Pedrera and was established under the auspices of the Department of Economy and Finance, Regional Government of Catalonia.



With a budget of €1 billion, the EU Graphene Flagship represents a new form of joint, coordinated research on an unprecedented scale, forming Europe's biggest ever research initiative.

The Graphene Flagship aims at bringing together academic and industrial researchers to take graphene from the realm of academic laboratories into European society in the space of 10 years, thus generating economic growth, new jobs and new opportunities.

The core consortium consists of 142 academic and industrial research groups in 23 countries. In addition, the project has a growing number of associated members that will be incorporated in the scientific and technological work packages within the Horizon 2020 phase (1 April 2016 – 31 March 2018).

ICFO leads Work Package 8 Photonics and Optoelectronics (former WP5 in previous ramp-up phase) and is also involved in research topics like Flexible Electronics, Sensors and Energy Applications.

The European Union launched the Quantum Flagship in October 2018, positioned to be one of the most ambitious European initiatives with a budget of 1b€ funded by the European Commission. It will support large-scale and long-term research and innovation projects, with the main goal of transferring quantum physics research from the lab to the market by means of commercial applications.

With a 10 years long life span and involving the quantum community at large, with over 5000 European researchers in academia and industry, the Quantum Flagship intends to place Europe at the forefront of the second quantum revolution, which is now unfolding worldwide. It aims to bring disruptive quantum technologies to the scientific arena and to society in general by driving new commercial opportunities addressing global challenges, providing strategic capabilities for security and seeding yet unimagined applications for the future. It will build a network of European Quantum Technologies programs that will foster an ecosystem capable of delivering the knowledge, technologies and open research infrastructures and testbeds necessary for the development of a world-leading knowledge-based industry in Europe. The initiative divides all topics in five main areas of study: Quantum Communication (QComm), Quantum Computing (QComp), Quantum Simulation (QSim), Quantum Metrology and Sensing (QMS), and finally, Basic Science (BSci). The first 3-year phase of the Quantum Flagship, known as the ramp-up phase (October 2018 – September 2021), will fund projects with an overall budget of €132 million.

140 proposals were submitted for the first stage for these main areas plus for a Coordination and Support Action. After a thorough peer-review evaluation, 20 projects including a Coordination and Support Action have been selected for execution during the first stage of the flagship. ICFO is a partner in 7 of the projects, two of which as coordinator.