Connecting Talent and Industry with CARLA Camp & High Tech Exchange

07 December 2023

PhotonDelta’s Human Capital Program is helping to bridge the gap between STEM students and the photonics industry. This October, Optics Netherlands, Photonics Society Eindhoven, PhotonicsNL and PhotonDelta collaborated on the Optica High Tech Exchange and CARLA Camp, two events connecting aspiring tech talent with industry insiders and academic experts in Eindhoven.

Sponsoring the Optica High Tech Exchange, co-organising CARLA Camp, and leading key program sessions, PhotonDelta helped to open doors for the next wave of industry pioneers. Here’s a recap of the recent events and their importance to industry growth. 

“PhotonDelta proudly co-organised CARLA Camp and sponsored the High Tech Exchange, essential events connecting aspiring talent with the fast-growing optics and (integrated) photonics industry. It was a pleasure to join forces and integrate the efforts of the optics and photonics chapters in the Netherlands to show aspiring talent what the industry has to offer.”

– Suzanne van Grootel, Project Manager Talent Attraction & Engagement, PhotonDelta

Optica High Tech Exchange

The Optica High Tech Exchange was a unique opportunity for students from five different universities across the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany to fully immerse themselves in the photonics industry.

“It’s fantastic to have the chance to engage with the photonics community, especially as a master’s student. It’s good to broaden my horizons around photonics during communication with participants from other Optica chapters.”

– Zhifan Day, Postgraduate Student, UGhent

Organised by the Photonics Society Eindhoven, the event aimed to connect students, academics, and other Optica members, with the photonics ecosystem in the city. Eindhoven is internationally recognised as a leading light in photonic technology, and with its strong connections between academy and industry, it was the ideal location for the 3-day event. The program itself was centred on career development in photonics.

“Organising and participating in the High Tech Exchange provided me with a leadership experience that added connections, experience, and value to my career”

– Bernat Molero Agudo, PhD Candidate, Photonics Society Eindhoven

Day One showcased the expertise of photonic integration at the Eindhoven University of Technology. Attendees were introduced to the university’s state-of-the-art facilities, touring the photonic integrated circuits lab and clean room. Professor of the Photonic Integration Research Group – Martijn Heck – gave an introductory talk, and the day ended with a tour of the city.


“The main take-away for me was the immense amount of opportunities for students and graduates in the photonics industry in Eindhoven, and the Netherlands. I was really impressed with the innovative solutions that companies and startups are working on.”

– Jayanti Mahajan, Postgraduate Student, KIT

On Day Two, attendees at the Optica High Tech Exchange had the chance to join CARLA Camp, co-organised by PhotonDelta, the Photonics Society Eindhoven, Optics Netherlands, and Photonics NL.

Welcoming around 140 participants, the program included a visit to the Experience Centre at ASML – one of the world’s leading manufacturers of chip-manufacturing equipment – together with inspiring talks and stories from industry leaders.

A number of high-profile PhotonDelta partners presented their unique industry insights, including photonics companies Admesy, TNO, Signify, Menlo Systems, and Optica, as well as integrated photonics specialists MantiSpectra, PHIX, Aircision, Delta Diagnostics, and Demcon. In addition, EFFECT Photonics and Superlight Photonics set up company booths to teach students more about what they do with integrated photonics. The day culminated with an industry networking event.

“I am proud of our team and partners for leaving a European mark on how we can help together young professionals, like myself, in figuring out how they want to pursue their careers.”

– David De Vocht, PhD Candidate, Photonics Society Eindhoven

Sponsored by Holland High Tech, ASML, and PhotonDelta, CARLA Camp is an independent knowledge sharing, networking, and careers event aimed at undergraduate and postgraduate students pursuing relevant courses including physics, engineering, math, computer science, chemistry, biotechnology, biomedicine, biology, and nanotechnology. Its goals are to:

  • Boost the numbers of students and researchers pursuing careers in photonics
  • Encourage innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Empower diversity in Photonics

This was the second edition of the CARLA Camp, which originally began under the EU-funded Horizon 2020.

Career development and well-being

Day Three centred on practical advice in regard to careers and wellbeing. The program included a workshop to raise awareness of mental health problems in academia, and to help people share advice for tackling problems. This was followed by a career development talk by Richard Zeltner – former Optica Ambassador and Group Leader for R&D at Menlo Systems.

In the afternoon, attendees visited the Light Application Centre at Signify Technologies. This was a great opportunity to see new technologies that are currently making their way into our daily lives, including IR sensors and LiFi communication devices. The day ended with a final get-together and celebration.

PhotonDelta would like to extend its thanks to attendees from the following universities for making the event such a success:

  • Friedrich Schiller University Jena
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • Ghent University
  • University of Twente
  • Eindhoven University of Technology

Want to discover career opportunities in the photonics industry through PhotonDelta? View careers