The European Photonics Roadshow series got underway with the first of their seven events starting on the International Day of Light (16th May), with the two day international meeting focussing on the agritech market.

The event ‘Agriculture at the centre of the digital economy’ included examples of emerging applications of photonics-enabled technology including robotics, earth observation, Internet of Things (IoT) and big data.

Attendees were presented with a rich itinerary including speakers from high profile organisations from across Europe, providing industry expertise, pre-arranged meetings allowing individuals to network among potential investors, and the opportunity for technology showcasing allowing an exhibition dedicated to the products and services of the SME’s. SME’s were able to take part in pitching sessions to present their agritech focused business and ideas, giving a valuable platform to source interest and expertise from investors and business contacts, a useful tool for developing their business case.

The next event in the international roadshow series will take place in Stockholm, Sweden on 11th -12th June. The workshop will focus on business development techniques for photonic companies operating in the healthcare sector. This free event will aim to help these organisations progress into medical technology markets. Experts in the sector will be available to provide guidance and network with individuals, aiming to help develop business ideas and organisation growth. Financial assistance with travel costs is available for SMEs who wish to attend one of the roadshow events outside of their own country. Companies should get in touch with us at for more details.

Feedback from attendees from the first event in Florence has been very positive. Ziga Valic, EPRISE project manager said, “Attendees from companies of all sizes have benefitted from hearing from a range of experts about emerging trends in agritech. Some very fruitful B2B meetings have taken place, and connections made over the two-day event.”

Lorenzo Targetti, Founder and CEO of Light4Tech said, “I’ve benefitted from networking on an international basis, including with research centres and also companies working in photonics. The event has been a useful platform for providing international exposure to our business.”

Valuable expertise

Guest speakers in Florence covered an array of topics at the roadshow to help provide expert knowledge on Agritech.

On day one, Jacques Cochard of Tematys presented on the ways in which photonics is able to overcome the sustainability challenge currently faced by modern agriculture.

Data from IFAC was also presented by Giovanni Agati explaining how a precision farming project has used photonic technology forthe detection of health beneficial phytochemicals in vegetables. Bretagne Development Innovation presented a case study exploring the use of photonic enabled devices within agricultural farming and how these technological advancements can be used to improve chicken farming using robotic systems.

A case study on milk production was discussed which explained how photonics could be used in a sensor system to help improve quality control and identify milk contamination inline.

Photonics enabled technology in practice

On day two, delegates visited a hi-tech precision demonstration farm for a tour, which included live demonstrations using drones, to show how photonics is embedded and progressing in the agricultural sector.

Alessandra Tassa from the European Space Agency (ESA) also presented a case study to show how the use of earth imaging technology has resulted in reduced time and chemicals spent on crops by Danish farmers. The data used by the farmers, was provided by the ESA’s Sentinel programme, which is free and easily accessible to SMEs.

The European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency also presented their ideas at the event with Gian Gherardo Calini expressing how, “Agriculture is an early adopter of satellite navigation technology” and explaining how EGNOS and Galileo satellites can provide opportunities for growth within the agritech market.

Pre-arranged B2B meetings provided attendees with the opportunity to meet with potential collaborators and partners, with a selection of workshops concluding the event. Useful discussions to took place to identify opportunities and synergies for business cooperation along European value-chains, with the objective of these workshops to lead to a business idea becoming a real inter-regional initiative with a strong European added value aspect.

The photonics roadshow series continues until April 2019, with an exciting range of events covering specific market areas planned. To find out more and register your place, please visit